Riverside, California 2021-09-05 08:00:24 –
Governor Greg Abbott’s efforts to raise private funding to build walls along the Texas-Mexico border surged from about $ 1 million at the beginning of the month to more than $ 54 million by the end of the month.
In June, Abbott announced a fundraising website where people can donate to help pay barriers. Two months after the effort, donations leveled off at about $ 1.25 million. This is a reduction in buckets compared to the soaring costs associated with large projects. However, this effort increased significantly in the second half of August, with donations jumping to about $ 19 million by August 27 and exceeding $ 54 million by August 31.
Abbott spokesman Renae Ez said the state “thanks for the support of Texas as a whole and across the country as it fills the gap created by the president.” [Joe] Step up to secure the border between Biden and our south. “
“In less than eight months, President Biden’s dangerous and reckless open border policy has caused disasters along our southern border, causing a record number of illegal immigrants in 21 years to surge in our country. “I did,” Eze said in a statement. “The Biden administration may not prioritize the sovereignty of our country or the security of our people, but Americans clearly do.”
It’s not yet clear what caused the donation surge, or who is behind the approximately $ 53 million that was put into the effort later in the month. Abbott’s office has a website that provides occasional updates on the total amount of funds raised, but does not voluntarily provide information about individual donors. The Texas Tribune has submitted a request for public records asking for the name of the donor. A tribune review of the donor’s first week showed more than 3,300 personal donations between June 10th and 17th, with the best gift being $ 5,000.
Meanwhile, experts have expressed concern about the lack of transparency in the border wall crowdfunding efforts.
It is not yet known how much the donation will pay for the border wall. The existing contract, awarded by the Texas Department of Transportation in June, will pay $ 25 million for an approximately two-mile “concrete barrier” along the Eagle Pass State Loop 480. However, wall construction costs may vary depending on the area the state is building.
Part of the federal border wall, initiated by the Trump administration and held by the Biden administration, ranged from $ 6 million per mile to $ 34 million per mile for construction. Abbott’s office said it had identified a 733-mile border that could require some barriers.
But private donors aren’t the only ones supporting the bill. On Wednesday, the legislature sent a bill to Abbott’s desk to allocate an additional $ 1.88 billion to border security to sign the law. Approximately $ 750 million of these dollars will go directly to the construction of border walls, concrete barriers and temporary fences.
Still, the $ 54 million raised by this effort has exceeded the expectations of many. A similar effort by the Arizona State Parliament to raise funds for the construction of the border fence raised only $ 270,000 in three years.
Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a professor at George Mason University’s Scharr School of Policy and Government, is notable for the amount raised by Abbott’s crowdfunding efforts as other recent efforts to use private funds on border walls have failed. Said.
“Understanding the fact that recent such efforts have resulted in construction that has been destroyed to some extent due to fraud and incapacity, people are using their money to fund such projects. It’s amazing in some respects that she mentions We Build The Wall, a conservative non-profit organization, raises private funding for the border wall, and is a former Trump political adviser. He said he had included Steve Bannon as a member of the board.
Bannon and group leader Brian Kolfage were accused by the federal government of plundering charities for personal gain in August 2020. Bannon was later forgiven by Trump.
According to engineers and hydrologists, one of the privately funded border walls that the group helped fund in South Texas showed signs of erosion last year and was in danger of falling into the Rio Grande River.
But Korea Cabrera said the multi-million dollar investment in border walls reflects the perception of some Americans that immigration is a threat to the country and the government is not addressing the issue. Stated. She said those feelings were often fueled by politicians to inspire support for their cause.
“Building a wall does not intend to protect the country from drug trafficking from the south of the continent, and it does not stop immigrants arriving in the south of the United States,” she said. “What is happening is symbolic, which symbolizes how the country is divided along the lines of immigration.”
Jill Fleuriet, a professor of anthropology at the University of Texas at San Antonio, said borders are often cast as dangerous “political boogiemen.” This is the only way many Americans hear about areas like South Texas.
“It shows the lasting strength of this border as a threat and lawlessness,” Fleuriet said. “When reality is, it is not.”
But Kevin Roberts, CEO of the Conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, said the border wall donation reflected the feelings of many Americans that the Biden administration’s immigration law enforcement was inadequate. Said that.
Roberts said with other actions, including staffing at the border for the wall to enforce immigration law, and a strong message from state and state leaders that immigrants should not attempt to travel to the United States. When combined, he said it could be an effective deterrent to immigrants. He said barriers help liberate immigration staff to other areas and may help prevent illegal entry.
“If the federal government isn’t doing its job to protect the citizens of a state, the state is obliged to do so,” Roberts said.
Disclosure: The Texas Public Policy Foundation and the University of Texas at San Antonio are financial supporters of the Texas Tribune, a non-profit, non-partisan telecommunications company, partially funded by donations from members, foundations, and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in tribune journalism.
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This article was originally published in the Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2021/09/02/texas-border-wall-private-donors/.
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