AUSTIN, Texas – More than 120 landowners who live near the US-Mexico border have agreed to let the state of Texas put up temporary fences on their border property, the Washington Examiner has learned.
On Wednesday, 123 people, most of whom live in Val Verde County, consented to an 8-foot-high barbed wire fence being erected at the edge of their property, according to a senior government adviser. Greg Abbott. Eighty-two of the 123 people identified have signed agreements with the state military department, which is overseeing the process.
This is a major achievement for Abbott’s administration as the governor seeks a third term. Getting the green light from landowners will immediately allow the state to begin securing what is a vulnerable place in its shared 1,250-mile border with Mexico. The remote region of south-central Texas, known to federal border officials as the Del Rio region, has the third-highest total of illegal immigration nationwide, with 144,500 encounters of illegal immigrants between February and July.
The Abbott administration official said landowners, concerned about rising rates of criminal incidents on their property, initially sought help from elected officials as the border crisis began ago six months. The decision to get permission to build from landowners was driven by residents’ demands rather than the initiative of the administration, the official said.
When asked if landowners were compensated or incentivized in any way in return for their cooperation, Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze replied no, adding that “the incentive is to secure their lands and our southern border “.
The future border fence is meant to protect landowners and their assets as more illegal immigrants who escape border patrol enter further into the country. Abbott in June ordered state police to arrest and prosecute all illegal immigrants for trespassing.
Sheriff Brad Coe of neighboring Kinney County said his two duty assistants on each team could not track the number of inbound calls due to human trafficking efforts. Its staff has gone from meeting illegal immigrants once a weekend to as many as five incidents a day along the county’s 60-mile border with Mexico.
“We’ve had our ups and downs,” Coe said on a phone call Tuesday. “But in the last year it has exploded.”
The process of putting up barriers to slow down and deter non-citizens from illegally entering the United States from Mexico is not a one-step process, the Abbott official said. First, planners consider where an obstacle is most needed, which includes examining the areas that migrants most often access to enter the country. Second, planners will compare the first list to places where landowners are willing to let the state build on their land and look for overlapping areas.
TEXAS TO AWARD BORDER WALL CONTRACT THIS WEEK
Normally, the biggest challenge for federal officials undertaking border wall projects is the acquisition of public and private land. The search for land has slowed down the Trump administration on several occasions as it has been stuck in the eminent domain process. In this case, because homeowners are lining up for the government to secure their property lines, the state is unlikely to get drawn into the negotiations.
The fallen pin marks Val Verde and Kinney counties, where the state is first preparing to install barbed wire fencing on private and public land. (Screenshot / Google Maps)
“We don’t even have to ask about the eminent domain because we have Crown land and we have a lot of people saying, ‘Come here and help me,’ administration official Abbott said. .
The state has identified 733 miles of border land where it can build, and the Texas National Guard will carry out the project. The south-central region should be the starting point.
Ken Oliver, senior director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation think tank Right on Immigration initiative, said his organization first met with landowners under the Trump administration and began researching which landlords would be open to the idea of letting the state build on their property. .
After President Joe Biden came to power in January, border meetings have skyrocketed and remain at 21-year highs. The Biden administration did not make any substantial changes to respond to the situation, which prompted Abbott to deploy its own state response in June, which included a plan to complete Trump’s border wall. Biden froze Trump’s border wall plans despite funding an additional 300 miles before Trump stepped down.
On September 1, the Texas Senate passed a $ 1.8 billion emergency border security bill. More than half of the $ 1.8 billion will go to the border wall and fences. A Washington Review of existing border wall projects found that only 150 miles of the 1,250 miles of land that Texas shares with Mexico has a substantial barrier, leaving the state on the hook for about 1,100 miles of fencing.
The Texas Facilities Commission, which oversees state contracts, is expected to award the border barrier contract this month. As engineering and design firms are selected, their job will also be to determine which types of terrain make the most sense to integrate.
The temporary fence under construction will feature no trespassing signs in English and Spanish, as well as barbed wire on top.
Susan Kibbe, executive director of the South Texans’ Property Rights Association, wrote in a text that the organization “supports the efforts of landowners to protect their property from continued intrusions caused by an unsecured border.”
The number of landowners willing to let the state build on their land is likely to increase as the military and public security services begin to ask landowners up and down the 1,250 mile border for permission to build. .
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Coe, who lives on the border but does not own the land he is on, said it is remarkable that ranchers and farmers are willing to let the state build on their property because that means the end result worth having military personnel on their land as the troops build the fences and state police keep watch over the area.
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Key words: News, Texas, Greg Abbott, Border Security, Border Crisis, Mexico, National Guard, National Security, Biden Administration, Foreign Policy, Immigration
Original author: Anna giaritelli
Original location: 123 Texas landowners agree to build border fence on their property