(The Center Square ) – An additional $38.4 million of Texas taxpayer money has been allocated to fund border security efforts at the Texas-Mexico border. It’s money Texas shouldn’t have to spend, Gov. Greg Abbott said, but is because of President Joe Biden’s open border policies that have ushered into the state rampant trafficking of drugs, people and crime.
The money will provide additional funding for Operation Lone Star, which Abbott launched in March and go towards law enforcement, jail operations, and court administration costs. It brings the total PSO funding for Operation Lone Star to $74 million to date designed to assist border cities and counties.
The state legislature earlier this year allocated $3 billion in funding for Texas’ border security efforts.
"From deterring illegal immigration, to preventing the smuggling of drugs and weapons, to curtailing human trafficking, the deployment of resources and personnel needed to arrest and jail criminals along the border is imperative to our comprehensive border security strategy under Operation Lone Star," Abbott said. "This additional funding will strengthen our response to the border crisis and ensure our law enforcement and local partners have the resources they need to keep our communities safe in the federal government's absence."
The additional round of PSO funding includes $19.5 million for specialized law enforcement equipment and supplies, including purchasing patrol vehicles, interoperable radios, surveillance equipment, bulletproof vests, thermal/night vision technology, and search and rescue equipment.
It also includes an additional $16 million to cover the costs of additional overtime, contract and salaried peace officers, jailers, prosecutors, indigent defense counsel, and administrative court staff.
Another $1.9 million was allocated to fund construction of regional emergency communication/radio towers, and additional capacity in county jail facilities, and another $800,000 was allocated to cover travel cost reimbursement for law enforcement assisting border disaster-declared counties.
Previous funding included grants totaling $22.3 million to help fund border prosecution efforts especially in counties significantly affected by border crime and $14 million to help border adjacent counties that issued disaster declarations in response to the border crisis.
The state also allocated $100,000 to the Texas Border Sheriff Coalition to provide training, technical assistance, and coordination of multi-jurisdictional planning activities to border sheriffs in support of Operation Lone Star.
The funding announcement comes after Abbott debuted the construction of the Texas border wall in Rio Grande City on Saturday.
“Texas is taking what truly is unprecedented action by any state ever for a state to build a wall on our border to secure the sovereignty of the United States as well as our own state,” Abbott said. “And this unprecedented action is needed for one single reason, and that’s because the Biden administration has failed to do its job as required by law as passed by Congress to enforce the immigration laws of the United States of America.”
The wall is being built on state land and private property, Abbott reiterated, adding that “the federal government has no authority whatsoever to interfere with our efforts to secure our state.”