Operation Lone Star Expands Successful Migrant Busing Strategy
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 383,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions and more than 29,000 criminal arrests, with more than 26,000 felony charges reported. In the fight against fentanyl, Texas law enforcement has seized over 418 million lethal doses of fentanyl during this border mission.
Texas has also bused more than 9,700 migrants to our nation's capital since April 2022, over 7,900 migrants to New York City since August 5, more than 2,300 migrants to Chicago since August 31, more than 1,500 migrants to Philadelphia since November 15, and over 160 migrants to Denver since May 18. On Wednesday, the first bus of over 40 migrants arrived in Los Angeles.
Operation Lone Star continues to fill the dangerous gaps left 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:
This week, Governor Abbott signed four laws passed during the 88th Regular Legislative Session to combat the growing national fentanyl crisis caused by President Biden’s continued refusal to secure the border. The new laws represent a significant step in the state's fight against the deadly opioid that will prosecute fentanyl deaths as murder, ensure death certificates reflect when people are poisoned by fentanyl, provide more life-saving NARCAN to Texas colleges and universities, and educate young Texans about the dangers of fentanyl.
“These four laws will forever change Texas through new protections that will help save lives,” said Governor Abbott. “In 2022, more than 2,000 people died from fentanyl in Texas—or more than five a day. It is the No. 1 killer of Americans ages 18-45. And as I noted at our fentanyl summit a few months ago, just one pill kills.”
During his State of the State Address in February, the Governor made fighting the fentanyl crisis an emergency item for lawmakers to address in the regular legislative session.
Governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday announced the arrival of the first group of migrants bused to Los Angeles, California from Texas.
"Texas' small border towns remain overwhelmed and overrun by the thousands of people illegally crossing into Texas from Mexico because of President Biden's refusal to secure the border," said Governor Abbott. "Los Angeles is a major city that migrants seek to go to, particularly now that its city leaders approved its self-declared sanctuary city status. Our border communities are on the frontlines of President Biden's border crisis, and Texas will continue providing this much-needed relief until he steps up to do his job and secure the border."
Since beginning the migrant busing strategy last spring, more than 21,800 migrants have been transported to these self-declared sanctuary cities while providing much-needed relief to Texas' overwhelmed border communities.
Governor Abbott thanked South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem for deploying South Dakota National Guard soldiers to the border to assist with Texas’ unprecedented border security efforts. As America’s southern border crisis continues to worsen, states around the nation are answering Governor Abbott’s call to step up and fill in the gaps created by President Biden’s open border policies.
Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia have also stepped up in response to the southern border crisis with manpower and assets. Currently, soldiers and law enforcement officers from Florida and Tennessee are on the southern border providing support for Operation Lone Star.
DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez joined Fox News this week to discuss Texas’ new marine floating barriers and Governor Abbott’s determined efforts to secure the border. The new marine floating barriers in the Rio Grande River near Brownsville will serve as an additional layer of defense.
“This is going to prevent any potential illegal crossings between the ports of entry, and most importantly, prevent drownings and human smugglers bringing people across on rafts,” said Lt. Olivarez. “It’s going to be nearly impossible now to cross the river. It’s another unprecedented action by Governor Abbott to actually put more resources in place to stem the flow of mass migration. This is a strategy we’re going to carry on along the Texas border and goes to show how Texas has stepped up in the absence of the federal government.”
Two children were recovered from a human smuggler during a traffic stop in Kinney County this week. A DPS trooper, working with a Florida Highway Patrol trooper, stopped an SUV for a traffic violation and discovered nine illegal immigrants trying to conceal themselves inside the vehicle.
All nine were referred to Border Patrol. The driver from San Antonio is charged with smuggling of persons. The children were 8 and 11-years-old.
A human smuggler led a DPS trooper on a high-speed pursuit reaching 115 mph. The driver from Houston eventually hit a highway sign, crashed into a ranch fence, and bailed out into the brush.
The smuggler was arrested and charged with evading, criminal mischief, and smuggling of persons. Two illegal immigrants from Mexico were also located in the brush. The male was charged with evading and criminal trespass. The female was referred to Border Patrol.
The Texas Rangers UAS Team and Special Operations Group assigned as part of Operation Lone Star’s Train Interdiction Team located and arrested a Honduran man who was concealed inside a grain hauler in Maverick County. Using facial recognition and biometric information, investigators confirmed he is a MS-13 gang member on the Transnational Organized Crime Watchlist. He was turned over to Border Patrol.
Texas National Guard soldiers work tirelessly to secure the border in the federal government’s absence by clearing heavy brush from the riverbanks and installing additional razor wire. The mission has successfully deterred and prevented transnational criminal organizations and illegal immigrants, who turn back to the Mexico side of the river when it becomes clear they cannot cross into Texas.
“The soldiers have been pulling some very long days to accomplish this operation in a very short amount of time,” said Major Michael Riley, Task Force Eagle operations officer. “We have brought out equipment to remove the significant vegetation out there that has impeded our ability to both access the riverbank and has provided a safe haven for transnational criminal organizations to smuggle people and goods into the United States.”