- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Gov. Greg Abbott announced a $250 million down payment Wednesday on his plan to have Texas build its own version of the border wall, and he said the state will also accept donations online from supporters who want to pay for more miles of wall.

The Republican governor, at a press conference in Austin, said he would like to see the federal government step up to its responsibility, but said he’s willing to have the state fill the gap.

He signed a directive to the Texas Facilities Commission to hire a project manager to oversee the planning and contracting.

“The Biden Administration has abandoned its responsibilities to secure the border and Texans are suffering as a result,” Mr. Abbott said.

The wall will be built on state-owned land and any land private owners wish to donate or grant access to.

President Biden is slow-walking billions of dollars Congress allocated to build the wall. The Government Accountability Office this week ruled his delays are legal, though it said he must eventually follow through on construction.

Mr. Biden has vowed not to erect another foot.

Republicans say the wall - the most visible of former President Donald Trump’s campaign promises — is essential to border security.

Mr. Abbott said donations for the wall can be made at www.borderwall.texas.gov.

Previous attempts to crowdsource border wall construction date back to the Bush administration, and have generally been largely symbolic and replete with hiccups.

But this is the first attempt by a state government, which brings a new level of organization and authority.

Mr. Abbott said he was demanding the Biden administration return any land the federal government had previously taken from private landowners to build border wall, and the state will then negotiate with those landowners.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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