Texas raised more than $54 million in donations for a wall along the border with Mexico by the end of August, according to a website started by the state in June, The Texas Tribune reports.

Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, revealed the website in June, after announcing that the state had set up a $250 million ”down payment” on a border wall. A spokesperson for Abbott told the Tribune that the governor is grateful for the support that that has come in as Texas ”fills the gap created by President [Joe] Biden and steps up to secure our southern border.”

The spokesperson added: ”In less than eight months, President Biden’s dangerous and reckless open border policies have led to a disaster along our southern border, with 21-year record-high numbers of illegal immigrants surging into our country. While the Biden Administration may not prioritize the sovereignty of our nation or the safety of our people, Americans clearly do.”

The Tribune notes that fundraising for the border wall surged last month, when it began with about $1 million and ended with more than $54 million. The news outlet also notes it’s unclear what caused the large increase in donations, or who is making them.

Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, who teaches at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, told the Tribune that the amount raised is notable because of how unsuccessful most other private attempts to fund a border wall have been.

”It is surprising in some regard that people are using their money to fund a project like this understanding the fact that in the recent past, efforts like this had resulted in fraud and in construction that has been destroyed to some extent because of the lack of capacity of those who built it,” she said, an apparent reference to allegations made against the conservative nonprofit We Build the Wall.

”While securing the border is the federal government’s responsibility, Texas will not sit idly by as this crisis grows. Texas is responding with the most robust and comprehensive border plan the nation has ever seen,” Abbott said in a recent statement.

”Open-border policies have led to a humanitarian crisis at our southern border as record levels of illegal immigrants, drugs and contraband pour into Texas. The State of Texas is working collaboratively with communities impacted by the border crisis to arrest and detain individuals coming into Texas illegally,” the statement continued.

”Our efforts will only be effective if we work together to secure the border, make criminal arrests, protect landowners, rid our communities of dangerous drugs, and provide Texans with the support they need and deserve.”

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