The state representative contended that President Biden should not stop Texans from finishing what the last administration started.
“President Trump fought to bring real border security and was opposed by Republicans and Democrats in Congress. While hundreds of miles of new wall were built under his leadership, the Biden administration has already ceased border wall construction,” Slaton said in a press statement.
“It is time for Texas to stand up and finish the work that President Trump started. Let’s finish building the border wall now,” he added.
In fact, the bill would even name the state’s part of the security barrier after Trump, who is a possible 2024 presidential contender.
The text states, “[DPS] must include as part of the transportation infrastructure, technology, and commercial vehicle inspection infrastructure at ports of entry along this state’s international border the construction to federal specifications for similar infrastructure of a wall to be named the ‘President Donald J. Trump Wall.’”
The legislation calls for an account called the “border security enhancement fund” and would instruct the governor to ask the federal government to reimburse the state for the costs associated with finishing the border wall.
Whatever reimbursement the federal government might provide would be deposited into the state’s rainy day fund.
Any contractors who participated in building the President Donald J. Trump Wall would be required to participate in e-verify — a program established in 1996 that enables employers to confirm information on their potential employees’ applications, especially whether the individual is authorized to work in the U.S.
The state would also be required to give preference to contractors from Texas.
DPS would consult with the commissioner of the General Land Office and work with the federal government to “coordinate border security efforts.”
Trump completed more than 450 miles of the border wall, his signature campaign promise, prior to departing the White House. Construction of the new barrier came to a screeching halt within hours of Biden taking the oath of office, leaving hundreds of miles incomplete.
The Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, said to the public at an event in August that there was funding for 733 miles.
Slaton filed his bill the same day Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement condemning the Biden administration for “assimilating” illegal immigrants who test positive for COVID-19.
“The unconscionable act by the Biden Administration of releasing COVID-positive illegal immigrants in our states puts the lives of Texans and Americans at risk. Border security is strictly a federal responsibility. The federal government alone has the responsibility to test, screen and quarantine illegal immigrants crossing our border who may have COVID,” Abbott said.
The governor continued, “Instead of doing their job, the Biden Administration suggested it did not have the sufficient resources and, remarkably, asked Texas to assist them in aiding their illegal immigration program. Texas refused. We will not aid a program that makes our country a magnet for illegal immigration.”
A South Texas Democrat echoed some of the governor’s concerns in a statement in a social media post.
“Our country is currently unprepared to handle a surge in migrants in the middle of a pandemic,” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) tweeted. “I urge the Biden administration to listen and work with the communities on the southern border who are dealing with this influx. Inaction is not an option.”
Slaton’s bill is awaiting referral to a committee.