(NewsNation Now) — Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush said construction on a permanent, state-funded border wall will begin “in a matter of days.”
He made the announcement Thursday on NewsNation’s “The Donlon Report.”
“In the coming days, we’ll make an announcement in Starr County, which is in the Rio Grande Valley, where roughly 40% of all illegal immigrant apprehensions in our country occur,” Bush said.
Bush is the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and grandson of former President George H.W. Bush. He is also a candidate in a crowded state attorney general race. He has broken with his family and supported former President Donald Trump, who has indicated he may endorse him.
Gov. Greg Abbott launched Operation Lone Star in March. It utilizes the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to prevent migrants from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
“[Operation Lone Star] allows us to apprehend detain, understand the folks in the risk profile the folks that are coming across, and then to be able to jail them,” said Bush. “So it’s a catch-and-jail policy rather than catch-and-release.”
Ten civil rights organizations have filed a joint discrimination complaint asking the Department of Justice to investigate the operation.
“They’ve created a nefarious state enforcement system to punish brown and black immigrants,” Laura Peña, legal director of the Racial and Economic Justice Program at the Texas Civil Rights Project, told BorderReport. “There’s real human suffering … as well as consequences to the border communities that are required to enforce it.”
Bush believes the program is “a clear-cut criminal trespassing statute program — at least in terms of arresting folks.”
Private donations for a Texas border wall grew to $54 million as of October, and Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed a $1.8 billion bill allocating additional state funding to border security initiatives.
NewsNation affiliate Border Report contributed to this report.