By Charlie McCarthy
The Texas General Land Office and Texas Department of Public Safety have signed a lease agreement authorizing construction of a border wall in part of the Rio Grande Valley.
The agreement authorizes “construction of border wall along a GLO-owned farm tract in Starr County,” The Monitor reporter Valerie Gonzalez tweeted Monday morning.
Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced the agreement as the latest effort to “mitigate the immigration crisis” following Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s emergency declaration to complete the border wall.
“Washington continues to ignore the Biden administration’s border crisis, leaving Texans no choice but to take matters into our own hands,” Bush said in a statement. “Lease revenue for this land directly benefits the most important asset in Texas – our schoolchildren.
“As the border crisis continues to escalate, the lives of Texans are being endangered and we are at serious risk of losing revenue generated from leased lands along the Texas-Mexico border. I thank DPS for their partnership on this critical issue – working together, we will secure our border.”
Abbott announced in June a crowdfunding effort to pay for the wall and other barriers such as fencing. The Republican governor pledged $250 million in state money to start the project.
The Texas Senate approved House Bill 9 in September to allocate $1.88 billion toward border security, a move that nearly tripled state spending after already approving $1.05 billion earlier this year.
A recent survey found that more Texans support Abbott’s border policies than those of President Joe Biden.
Nearly half (49%) of respondents said they approved of how Abbott was handling immigration at the southern border, The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler found in a poll taken Nov. 9-16.
The Texas Tribune reported late last month that five firms remained on a short list to design and build southern border barriers in the state.
The list included some businesses that came under question by the Trump administration for quality of work or impact on the environment with previous projects, the Tribune said.
Bush announced Nov. 15 that he officially filed to be in next year’s race for Texas attorney general, KXAN reported.