Legal and policy experts react to Gov. Abbott's border security plans

2 years 5 months 3 weeks ago Friday, June 11 2021 Jun 11, 2021 June 11, 2021 9:14 PM June 11, 2021 in News - Local

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday announced several steps to crack down on illegal border crossings – including building a border wall in the state.

Legal and policy experts have said immigration issues are covered by the federal government, leaving the state with few options.

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"It’s not something that you say you're going to put a wall up today and construction starts tomorrow," Natalie Nanasi, an immigration law expert from Southern Methodist University in Dallas said. 

Nanasi added that Gov. Abbott might have trouble getting the land for a border wall since some landowners might already be tied up in court from the most recent wall project.

Another expert said the governor should work with neighboring states in Mexico to find direct, local solutions.

There are also concerns that local sheriff's offices will have trouble trying to charge a person with a state crime besides trespassing or human smuggling laws.

RELATED: Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas will build a border wall, but doesn’t yet give details on cost or location

"Local police departments might not have the expertise and the training necessary to even know what the immigration laws are,” Nanasi said.

Channel 5 News reached out to sheriff's offices in Cameron, Hidalgo and Starr counties on how they will follow with the governor's plan, but we didn't hear back.

Gov. Abbott said he will be giving more details on how he'll fund a border wall and help county sheriffs with the arrest of migrants as early as next week.   

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