Brittany Taylor, Digital News Editor

The US state of Texas is transferring inmates from a state prison to make room for detained migrants, prison authorities said, amid sustained efforts by Governor Greg Abbott to rein in the number of Central American migrants coming from Mexico.

The Texas prison system began moving inmates from the Dolph Briscoe Unit prison in Dilley to other prisons Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jeremy Desel announced on Thursday [File: Ted S Warren/AP Photo]

About 1,000 inmates at Briscoe will be spread to different units throughout TDCJ. It will allow the unit to serve as a central holding facility for non-TDCJ detainees who have been arrested and charged with a state offense.

The agency said it currently has the available bed capacity to assist in Operation Lone Star, which was launched in March by the governor to combat the smuggling of people and drugs into Texas.

TDCJ: Moving prisoners out of Briscoe Unit to make room for undocumented migrants

This comes a day after Abbott announced $250 million would be pulled from the department’s budget to fund the Texas border wall. The agency said the money will come from its 2023 fiscal year budget.

Trump made the building of a wall along the border a signature part of his presidency, saying it was needed to stop migrants and criminals from coming to the US. And he said Mexico would pay for the wall.

But Mexico did not pay for it. Instead, the Trump administration diverted $16.45bn in federal money to fund the construction that was never completed.

Abbott’s measures may be subject to legal challenges as the US Supreme Court has consistently ruled that immigration law enforcement is the exclusive province of the federal government.

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