Gov. Greg Abbott has said the money is there to pay for it, but no state official has given an estimate on how much it will end up costing. Retired Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agent Victor Avila, a candidate to become Texas’ next land commissioner, conceded it will likely be billions of dollars.
Former President Donald Trump’s border wall was costing around $20 million per mile, and was weighing in at around $11 billion total.
Abbott said on Fox News on Friday that Texas has an advantage over the federal government: It already owns the land. The Trump administration’s border wall price tag included purchasing land from the state.
A September spending bill nearly tripled the state’s spending on the border to $2.93 billion, and included $750 million for the wall. That’s in addition to the $250 million Abbott said was a “down payment” this summer.
The state has also been accepting private donations for the wall, but so far that has raised $54 million.
Proponents of the wall say it will help blunt a recent surge in migrant crossings that have law enforcement in border towns overwhelmed. Custons and Border Patrol reported a 140% increase in migrant encounters in Nov. 2021 compared to the same month in 2020.
But those against it say it may not stop enough illegal crossings to be worth the cost.
It’s unclear when the project will be finished.