The state of Texas has received millions of dollars worth of border wall materials from the federal government after the Biden administration halted construction of the project.
According to the Washington Examiner, more than 1,700 steel panels—declared surplus property by the federal government—were shipped to Texas last week from California to be used to build the barrier on the Mexican border.
Texas Facilities Commission (TFC) spokeswoman Francoise Luca told the Examiner that the TFC applied in November for the 32-foot steel bollard panels through the General Services Administration, which oversees the distribution of property that the federal government no longer needs.
The panels are worth about $6 million, according to Tucson.com. They are reportedly enough to construct around 1.7 miles of border wall. Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) told Fox News that Texas has 1,250 miles of border.
While the materials were provided to the state for free, Texas spent around $2 million to bring them from California, according to the Examiner.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the state of Texas’s plan for the border wall on June 16, 2021, stating that the Biden administration has “abandoned its responsibilities to secure the border” and that as a result, “Texans are suffering.”
“The problems along the border are only getting worse due to President [Joe] Biden’s inaction. Property is being destroyed, deadly drugs and illegal weapons are being smuggled into communities throughout the state, law enforcement is having to redirect their resources, and county judges and mayors are facing skyrocketing expenses,” Abbott said at the time.
Texas, the Republican governor said, is “doing more than any state has ever done to protect the border, but it is clear that more is needed.”
Abbott said that through the “comprehensive public safety effort, we will secure the border, slow the influx of unlawful immigrants, and restore order in our border communities.”
Abbott has over $1 billion dedicated to building the wall, with more than $55 million from private donations.
In September last year, thousands of illegal immigrants, including Haitian, Cuban, and Venezuelan nationals, illegally entered the United States and took shelter underneath the border bridge connecting Del Rio, a Texas town of about 35,000 people, to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.
They were able to do so because of key changes made to the border policy by Biden, who reversed Trump-era immigration policies, including trying to end the “Remain in Mexico” program.
At the time, Abbott took aim at Biden’s handling of the crisis, noting that it was in “complete disarray” and was dealing with the border situation “as badly as the evacuation from Afghanistan.”
The Border Patrol reported 1,734,686 encounters with migrants at the U.S.–Mexico border in 2021, compared with 458,088 in 2020.
Building a wall along the U.S.–Mexico border was championed by former President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign and administration.
About 450 miles of the larger border barrier was constructed under Trump.
Biden signed an order shortly after taking office to pause wall construction and called for a review of all resources and funds appropriated for its construction.
In a statement, the president claimed the wall construction “is a waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security” and that a “massive wall that spans the entire southern border is not a serious policy solution.”
Biden also said his administration is “committed to ensuring that the United States has a comprehensive and humane immigration system that operates consistently with our Nation’s values.”
Luca also told the Examiner that Texas state will “continue to monitor the General Services Administration material list, and if there’s ever anything that we can use for construction, we’re open to that.”