Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush on Wednesday announced a lawsuit against the Biden administration over its controversial decision to end construction of the border wall, one of a number of efforts to push back against the president’s border policies by the Lone Star state.
“The issue here is simple – no man is above the law, and that includes President Biden,” Bush said in a press conference.
The lawsuit was filed as part of the Texas Defense Task Force, set up by Bush to identify federal overreach and push back against perceived threats to the Texan economy. It sues Biden as well as the Department of Homeland Security on the grounds that ending the wall construction is illegal.
More than 450 miles of border wall, including in Texas, was built during the Trump administration. Opponents of wall construction said it was cruel and ineffective, while proponents said it was a vital part of a border strategy to stop the flow of illegal immigration.
Biden halted construction on his first day in office, and launched a review into how the funding and contracts underway could be handled. The Pentagon announced in April that funds would be used instead for previously deferred military construction projects.
In June, DHS announced that remaining funding would be used to address safety and environmental concerns near construction sites. The department highlighted efforts to close breaches in the Rio Grande Valley that were cleared for the border wall, but that the agency said could lead to serious flooding, as well as efforts to fix soil erosion in San Diego.
“Wall construction along the southern border in recent years is just one example of the prior administration’s misplaced priorities and failure to manage migration in a safe, orderly and humane way,” the White House said in a fact sheet on the plans.
On Wednesday, Bush noted that Congress had allocated billions of dollars for border wall construction and challenged the reallocation by the Biden administration.
“Now, four years after the first funding was signed into law, President Biden has announced that he will simply no longer follow the law and illegally halted all construction to build the wall,” he said. “This is wrong. This is illegal. And this will not hold up in court.”
Bush’s announcement comes after Gov. Greg Abbott announced last month that Texas is forging ahead with its own efforts to build a wall – announcing a $250 million down payment on the project, which is also being funded by public donations and raised nearly $400,000 in the first week.
“Make no mistake, the border crisis that we’re dealing with right now is a direct result of the open border policies that have been put in place by the Biden administration,” Abbott said announcing the move.
After that announcement, Bush said construction will receive emergency authorization on state lands to expedite the completion of the project.