Gov. Greg Abbott's $250 million 'border wall' is a chain-link fence

click to enlarge Gov. Greg Abbott (left) shakes hands with former President Donald Trump during a border photo op in late June. - INSTAGRAM / @GOVERNORABBOTT
Instagram / @governorabbott
Gov. Greg Abbott (left) shakes hands with former President Donald Trump during a border photo op in late June.
The state-funded "border wall" initiated by Gov. Greg Abbott is actually a chain link fence that South Texas officials say is unlikely to keep migrants from crossing into Texas, according to new media reports.

Recent stories by Texas Monthly and the San Antonio Express-News describe a 1.2 mile completed section of Abbott's border barrier west of Del Rio as something considerably less substantial than the "big, beautiful" wall former President Donald Trump pledged to build.

"The fence, roughly ten feet tall and a hundred feet from the Rio Grande, boasts rings of razor wire at chest level, with another complement of wire at the top," writes Texas Monthly's Aaron Nelsen. "Its modest height, combined with the military-grade concertina wire, gives the effect of a Chihuahua sporting a large spiked collar."

Abbott, a Republican who is running for reelection, announced plans in June to spend $250 million in state funds to finish Trump's border wall, falsely claiming a surge in border crossing was causing "carnage" in the state. He also asked the public to pitch in through a crowdfunding campaign that's so far raised less than $1 million, according to Texas Monthly's reporting.

The Express-News article further puts Abbott's 10-foot-tall chain link fence in perspective by contrasting it with the 12-foot-high black metal fence built along the border during the George W. Bush administration and Trump's unfinished wall, which towers to nearly 30 feet.

Abbott's fence is built on private land, which gives state troopers justification for arresting migrants on trespassing charges if they clamber over it. However, Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez told the Express-News border crossers already steer clear of it since they know they can surrender on federal land to obtain asylum hearings.

"Other walls have been built with the same goal in mind. They have slowed but never stopped the illegal immigration that has been the governor’s focus in recent weeks," the Express News' Sig Christensen writes. "The 'Bush fence,' as Martinez calls it, is bent at the top and bottom where migrants climbed over or crawled under it."

Both articles suggest Abbott's project is pricy political theater — something that's likely to be more effective at hurling red meat to the MAGA crowd than slowing border crossings. Texas Monthly's wraps up as State Rep. Eddie Morales, D-Eagle Pass, laments the waste of taxpayer money that could have been used to improve border communities.

“I would much rather see that money invested into expanding our ports of entry,” Morales said. “The governor would never lose again if he focused on enhancing business and trade at the border. That’s the one area he’s totally neglected.”

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