Operation Lone Star Combats President Biden’s Humanitarian Crisis
Governor Greg Abbott, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), and the Texas National Guard are continuing to work together to secure the border; stop the smuggling of drugs, weapons, and people into Texas; and prevent, detect, and interdict transnational criminal behavior between ports of entry.
Since the launch of Operation Lone Star, the multi-agency effort has led to over 394,200 illegal immigrant apprehensions and more than 31,300 criminal arrests, with more than 29,100 felony charges reported. In the fight against fentanyl, Texas law enforcement has seized over 422 million lethal doses of fentanyl during this border mission.
Texas has also bused:
- Over 10,400 migrants to Washington, D.C. since April 2022
- Over 10,300 migrants to New York City since August 5
- Over 4,100 migrants to Chicago since August 31
- Over 2,000 migrants to Philadelphia since November 15
- Over 300 migrants to Denver since May 18
- Over 160 migrants to Los Angeles since June 14
Operation Lone Star continues to fill the dangerous gaps created by the Biden Administration's refusal to secure the border. Every individual who is apprehended or arrested and every ounce of drugs seized would have otherwise made their way into communities across Texas and the nation due to President Joe Biden's open border policies.
RECENT HIGHLIGHTS FROM OPERATION LONE STAR:
Today, Governor Abbott responded to a letter sent by President Biden's Department of Justice indicating that they plan to sue the State of Texas over the floating marine barriers placed in the Rio Grande River to deter illegal crossings near Eagle Pass. In a thread on Twitter, the Governor emphasized that Texas has the sovereign authority to defend the Texas-Mexico Border.
"The tragic humanitarian crisis on the border was created because of Biden's refusal to secure the border," reads the thread. "We will continue to deploy every strategy to protect Texas and Americans — and the migrants risking their lives. We will see you in court, Mr. President."
The Office of the Governor on Tuesday issued a joint statement from Texas Border Czar Mike Banks, DPS Director Steve McCraw, and Texas Adjutant General Major General Thomas Suelzer following reporting on directives given under Operation Lone Star:
"No orders or directions have been given under Operation Lone Star that would compromise the lives of those attempting to cross the border illegally. The Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Military Department continue taking steps to monitor migrants in distress, provide appropriate medical attention when needed, and encourage them to use one of the 29 international bridges along the Texas-Mexico Border where they can safely and legally cross. With migrants from over 150 countries encouraged by open border policies to risk their lives and make this dangerous trek to enter our country illegally, Texas is deploying every tool and strategy to deter and repel illegal crossings between ports of entry."
Until President Biden reverses his open border policies and does his job to secure the border, Texas will continue protecting Texans and Americans from the chaos along the border.
On Tuesday, DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez spoke with Spectrum News about the false claims that Operation Lone Star endangers the lives of migrants attempting to cross the border. DPS troopers and Texas National Guard soldiers are stationed along the border to prevent and deter illegal crossings and criminal activity by Mexican drug cartels or other criminal organizations, who prioritize profits over people and ruthlessly exploit President Biden’s open border policies.
“At no point has any [DPS] trooper been told to physically push any migrant back into the river, let alone a child,” said Lt. Olivarez. “It really discredits the work our troopers have been doing for the past two years and their character. No trooper would ever place hands on a migrant and use force to push them back into the river. When we say ‘pushing back,’ we’re talking about messaging and having a show of force; standing at the river and telling migrants that it is closed, you can’t cross here, and you have to go to a port of entry and seek asylum where it’s safe and humane.”
This week, DPS Lt. Olivarez joined Fox News to discuss the new floating marine barriers in the Rio Grande River near Eagle Pass that have been installed to keep people from making dangerous and illegal river crossings. Despite criticism of Texas’ latest deterrence effort, Lt. Olivarez notes that Operation Lone Star personnel work night and day along the border to maintain law and order in the region as the Biden Administration continues to turn a blind eye to the crisis at the border.
“We want to discourage anyone thinking about crossing the river so they can go to a port of entry when seeking asylum and to prevent smugglers and criminals from taking advantage of the migrants crossing the river, extorting them for money, and robbing them of their personal belongings,” said Lt. Olivarez. “It’s another added layer of defense to what we have in place already with razor wire, boots on the ground, and boats in the water. It’s all to discourage and deter any potential unlawful crossings at the river.”
As part of Operation Lone Star, DPS troopers in Eagle Pass arrested an illegal immigrant from Honduras for criminal trespass and endangering a child causing imminent danger after witnessing him throw a 1-year-old infant into the Rio Grande River while trying to cross illegally. The child went under water and was in clear distress. The illegal immigrant eventually went back and grabbed the child.
He was detained and now faces charges of criminal trespass and felony child endangerment.
A DPS trooper conducting a traffic stop in Kinney County discovered seven illegal immigrants, including two children, being smuggled in the back seat of the truck. The driver, who is an illegal immigrant from Mexico, is charged with smuggling of persons. The seven illegal immigrants were referred to Border Patrol.
DPS Troopers, Medics Rescue Teenager Injured During Attempted River Crossing
DPS troopers and medics rescued a 17-year-old illegal immigrant from Venezuela, who sustained an ankle injury while crossing the Rio Grande River. DPS medics provided field triage and facilitated medical transport to a local hospital.
Texas National Guard soldiers assigned to Task Force Center in Laredo assist local law enforcement officials in responding to a significant increase in criminal activity, such as human and drug smuggling. Soldiers use advanced night vision equipment to patrol known human and drug smuggling routes and communicate directly with local and state law enforcement to synchronize border security efforts.
Unmanned aerial vehicles and other aviation assets are also used to safely and effectively conduct operations, which have led to more than 210,000 apprehensions and referrals to law enforcement from the border region since Operation Lone Star was launched in March 2021.
“The soldiers of Task Force Center are flexible and highly motivated for mission success,” said 1st Sgt. Nate Warfield. “We will continue to prevent, deter, and interdict transnational criminal activity along the Texas-Mexico border with our law enforcement partners.”
Texas National Guard engineers from the 175th Engineer Brigade in Task Force West work to establish effective concertina wire border barriers to prevent and deter illegal border crossings in the El Paso region. For welding and technical skills needed in the construction of new barriers, the Texas National Guard partnered with Western Technical College in El Paso to expand the capabilities of the soldiers, enhance their training in building effective barriers, and increase the efficiency of completing the Operation Lone Star mission to protect the local community and Texas against illegal border activity.
“We are extremely honored that the Texas Guard brought this to our attention and to be able to play a small part in making a difference,” said Western Technical College President Dr. Maxine Valencia. “It is such an honor to be a part of this initiative. We look forward to continuing building our partnership and seeing what we can accomplish together.”