Things That Matter

Republican Governors Say They’ll Band Together To Build Trump’s Border Wall No Matter What

Even with Trump out of office and President Biden canceling the proposed 2,200 mile long border wall project, Republican governors in Arizona and Texas say they’ll go it alone. The Texas governor said that he will use $250 million in state money and crowdsourced financing to build more barriers. And in Arizona, the governor is using emergency declarations to pressure the Biden administration to take drastic measures against migrants and refugees.

A group of Republican governors are trying to assert control over an issue handled by the federal government.

It was just a month ago that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an emergency declaration for 36 counties along the U.S.-Mexico border in attempt to free up $250 million to put towards the border wall. Now, he’s attempting to take more state funds – along with crowd-sourced financing – to build more sections of the borer wall in his state.

“It’s extraordinarily unusual,” Jon Taylor, professor of political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio, told the Texas Tribune. “Traditionally, it’s used for natural disasters,” he added, though state law does allow for its use for some man-made disasters.

Every Texas Democrat in Congress signed a letter on Monday urging Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to take steps to block Abbott from using the COVID relief funding on border barriers, asking her to issue a formal rule making clear that recovery funding “cannot be used for a border wall, fence, or similar installation.” They also say the Treasury needs to make rules ensuring the money can’t be used to replenish state funding spent on a border barrier.

Arizona’s Ducey has also taken steps to build the border wall through his state.

On April 20, 2021, Arizona Gov. Ducey signed a border crisis declaration of emergency that alleges that the influx of migrants and refugees into his state is causing financial hardships to local and state agencies and endangering the health and lives of citizens. It also says that the federal government has failed to protect the state’s borders.

With his emergency declaration, Ducey hopes to free up federal COVID relief aide money to put it towards border enforcement and wall construction along the states southern border with Mexico. The state also has set up a webpage and post office box so anyone can donate money for the state’s wall.

But the actions these states are taking do not supersede the federal government’s authority.

Legal experts say the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that the power to enforce immigration law is in the hands of the federal government, including striking down efforts by Arizona Republicans a decade ago. And although President Joe Biden suspended construction of a border wall upon taking office, and his administration recently announced a plan to divert funding from Trump’s signature project, there is plenty of evidence that shows these barriers are useless.

Although Trump’s project is more formidable than barriers it replaced, it isn’t uncommon for smugglers to guide people over or through it. Portions can be sawed with power tools sold at home improvement stores.

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