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Gov. Abbott visits Rio Grande City to debut construction of Texas border wall

Abbott was in South Texas on Saturday to officially break ground on the state-backed wall six months after first announcing the plan.

TEXAS, USA — Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas has officially started building its own border wall.

On Saturday, Abbott was in Rio Grande City in front of the first phase of the wall being built to debut the wall construction. 

The debut came six months after the governor announced the state's border wall construction plan and authorized the transfer of $250 million as a down payment. Then, in September, a program manager was chosen to lead planning and construction.

Abbott also signed House Bill 9 in November, providing an additional $1.8 billion in state funding for border security, including wall construction. 

"In June, I promised Texans that we would step up in the federal government's absence and build our own border wall. We have wasted no time in the six months since that promise was made, and I am proud to announce that construction of the Texas border wall is now underway," Abbott said in a release.

In addition to funding, Abbott has signed a handful of laws regarding border issues, including human trafficking and smuggling and the manufacturing and distribution of fentanyl. 

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush was also at the construction site with Abbott on Saturday. Earlier this year, Bush issued an emergency authorization for use of state-owned lands for the border wall construction.

"We will not stop until this wall is built and our border is secure. Fighting for border security requires a team effort, and I thank Go. Abbott, the state legislature, and our other partner agencies for their support of this cause," Bush said in part.

On Friday, Fox News reporter Bill Melugin tweeted that the first wall panels have gone up in Starr County, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley. Melugin said the wall is the result of "state land, state money."

Abbott quote-tweeted Melugin, saying, "Texas has officially started building its own border wall." The governor went on to say that President Joe Biden "allows open border policies and refuses to enforce laws passed by Congress to secure the border and enforce immigration laws" and "Texas is stepping up to do the federal government's job."

Also on Friday, Abbott appeared on Fox News' "Varney & Co." to discuss the border wall construction. During the interview, Abbott said that the Texas Legislature "really took a strong stand" to make sure the state would have enough money to build a wall and make sure that the Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety are at the border.

"Three billion dollars of Texas taxpayer money has been devoted to this cause of Texas securing the border, and so we have a lot of money available to us to continue to build the wall," Abbott said, adding, "For Texas [this] is going to cost less than it did for the Trump administration for one reason. And that's because in Texas, unlike the Trump administration, we're not having to devote money to acquire the land …The state of Texas owns [land] on the border itself."

Abbott also said, "There are property owners of massive acreage on the border who are fed up with Biden's open border policies, and they are donating their land to Texas for us to be able to use that land for free to build a wall on their property."

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