McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) – The Texas General Land Office has given the Department of Public Safety access to 3,100 acres of farmland to build temporary border fences in Rio Grande City, and officials State is actively asking ranchers in the rural Starr County area to lease additional land as part of the governor’s plan to strengthen border security measures in South Texas, Border Report learned Monday.
The GLO announced on Monday that it had granted a limited entry right deal with the DPS for nearly five square miles of an agricultural area near the Rio Grande to erect chain-link fences intended to continue the border fence started under the Trump administration that the Biden administration halted.
The agency told Border Report in an email that “DPS will begin construction soon.”
It is the first temporary border fence to be erected in South Texas since Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the state would fund its own border wall after the Biden administration halted construction of the Trump-era wall along the southwestern border with Mexico.
In late September, the Texas Military Department, which includes National Guard units, announced it had built miles of temporary border fences in Del Rio, Texas. Officials in the region told Border Report that the agency, working with the DPS, plans to expand to other parts of the state by building chain-link fences nine to 10 feet high for help to ward off human traffickers and those who bring illegal drugs. Mexico.
“Washington continues to ignore the Biden administration’s border crisis, leaving Texans no choice but to take matters into their own hands,” Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush said in a statement Monday. .
“The rental income from this land directly benefits Texas’ most important asset: our school children. As the border crisis continues to escalate, the lives of Texans are in danger and we are at serious risk of losing the income generated from the leased land along the Texas-Mexico border. I thank the DPS for its partnership on this crucial issue – by working together we will secure our border, ”said Bush.
In July, Bush’s office sued President Joe Biden for stopping construction of the border wall.
Abbott has asked the DPS to recruit landowners to offer their property, which they are actively doing in South Texas, the landowners told Border Report.
Breeder Richard Guerra, 83, who owns an 8,000-acre ranch in Roma, western Starr County, Texas, said DPS officials visited his home last week to assess if they could install the temporary chain link fence on his property.
However, he said his land was a mile and a half from the Rio Grande, and DPS officials told him they wanted the fence along the river.
“I’m in favor of this fence but I’m too far from the river for what they want,” Guerra said.
“However, they told me, ‘We may still want to have something on your property.’ And I said I was hosting something like that for obvious reasons because of the migration issues, ”he said Monday as he oversaw ranch operations.
His main concern, he said, is with Mexican cattle and horses crossing the Rio Grande and bringing febrile tick disease, which he says Mexico does not control.
Guerra said earlier this month that he and three or four other herders met with DPS officials in Rome, where they tried to solicit the ranchers to grant access to the land.
“They are trying to find owners along and closer to the river,” Guerra said.
” I completely agree. I think the governor is really trying to do something right since the federal government will not do it, ”Guerra said.
Scott Nicol, a McAllen environmentalist who ran the Sierra Club’s Borderlands campaign, vehemently opposes any new border fence construction.
He says the area where they plan to fence – near the La Grulla Plains, Texas – is in a floodplain. He is concerned that the structure will block the flow of water and cause damage to wildlife and land in the area.
“This place is located in the heart of the Rio Grande floodplain. A wall in the floodplain will block the water, worsening flooding in the United States and Mexico before it is uprooted and swept downstream, ”Nicol told Border Report on Monday.
He added that he believes building directly on the Rio Grande violates the International Boundaries and Water Commission’s 1944 water treaty with Mexico.
A privately constructed border wall south of Mission, Texas, in neighboring Hidalgo County, is the subject of a lawsuit by local landowners and the federal government who claim it violates the international treaty on l ‘water.
“Bush and Abbott are once again abusing border communities, putting lives and property at risk in the event of a flood, in the hopes that building a wall will improve their chances on Election Day,” said Nicol .
Starr County Judge Eloy Vera told Border Report on Monday that he was unaware of the deal between the GLO and DPS on his county properties and did not know where or when the fence would be built.
“Certainly there are areas that I think warrant some type of barrier, but I don’t think that barrier would be necessary throughout County Starr,” Vera said. “A more cost effective way would be to use technology and boots in the field. It would create more jobs and would certainly be cheaper.
Guerra said the DPS did not offer payment for land rights, but agreed to erect the fence on the property for free, and then the landowner could keep the fence.
“You give them permission. They install it and it’s up to you. They don’t have to buy land or pay you anything. What you get in return is a free fence, ”he said.
Sandra Sanchez can be contacted at [email protected].