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Texas Governor Says He Will Solicit Donations To Build ‘Border Wall’

Reprinted with permission from The Texas Tribune

When Gov. Greg Abbott announced last week that Texas would build its own border wall, one of the immediate questions was who would pay for it.

Abbott has not fully detailed the plan yet, but he said in a podcast interview released Tuesday that the state will be soliciting donations from across the country to help fund the wall.

"When I do make the announcement later on this week, I will also be providing a link that you can click on and go to for everybody in the United States — really everybody in the entire world — who wants to help Texas build the border wall, there will be a place on there where they can contribute," Abbott said on the podcast, a show about Republican politics called Ruthless.

Abbott made national headlines with his announcement Thursday in Del Rio that Texas would build its own wall at the Mexico border, though he provided no further details and said he would lay out the plan this week.

In the meantime, Abbott has faced threats of legal action and a bevy of questions about where, when and how such a wall could be constructed.

Abbott said in the podcast interview that the donations to Texas' border wall will go to a fund "overseen by the state of Texas in the governor's office." He promised "great transparency," saying "everyone will know every penny in, every penny out, but the sole purpose for those funds will be going to build the border wall."

Abbott's plan would not be the first attempt to crowdfund a border wall. There was We Build The Wall, a private fundraising effort that raised more than $25 million after originally planning to construct three miles of fence posts in South Texas. Last year, four people involved in We Build The Wall — including Steve Bannon, the former adviser to President Donald Trump — were charged with allegedly defrauding donors to the effort. Trump pardoned Bannon before leaving office in January.

A closer parallel to Abbott's plan may date to 2011, when the Arizona legislature passed a law establishing a fund, complete with a fundraising website, to construct a fence along the state's border with Mexico. The fund received almost $270,000 by 2014, and a state border security advisory committee decided to give most of the sum to a county sheriff in 2015. The sheriff instead invested the money in border security technology such as GPS systems and binoculars, according to the Arizona Republic.

The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.

O’Rourke Will March, Speak Against Border Wall In El Paso During Trump Rally

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

Beto O’Rourke is not shying away from the spotlight as President Donald Trump prepares to hold a rally in the El Paso hometown of the former congressman and potential presidential candidate.

On Monday evening, O’Rourke will lead a march through the city and then speak at a “Celebration of El Paso” event at 7 p.m. local time — across the street from Trump’s rally and at the same time it is set to begin, according to O’Rourke’s team. The events, which will feature music and other speakers, are intended to highlight El Paso’s strength as a binational community — and push back against Trump’s long-sought border wall.

The rally comes as O’Rourke nears a decision on whether to join the Democratic race to challenge Trump in 2020 following a closer-than-expected loss to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), in November. Last Tuesday, O’Rourke promised a 2020 decision by the end of the month.

Earlier Monday, O’Rourke will join his successor in Congress, Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX), for a conference call to “denounce Trump’s campaign rally in El Paso and his fixation on a racist and useless border wall,” organizers said. And on Friday evening, O’Rourke returned to his favorite blogging platform — Medium — to offer a prebuttal to Trump’s trip.

“Monday we will welcome the president to one of the safest cities in the United States,” O’Rourke wrote. “Safe not because of walls, and not in spite of the fact that we are a city of immigrants. Safe because we are a city of immigrants and because we treat each other with dignity and respect.”

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2019/02/08/beto-orourke-march-trump-rally-el-paso/  

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.