Operation Lone Star Receives Legislative Boost To Secure The Border
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 351,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions and more than 25,000 criminal arrests, with more than 22,000 felony charges reported. In the fight against fentanyl, DPS has seized over 365 million lethal doses of fentanyl during this border mission.
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 Biden's open border policies.
RECENT HIGHLIGHTS FROM OPERATION LONE STAR:
On Tuesday, Governor Abbott hosted a roundtable discussion and press conference with Senator Brian Birdwell, Representative Ryan Guillen, and Operation Lone Star officials in Weslaco on the state’s ongoing border security efforts after last week designating border security an emergency item for this legislative session.
“I am proud to be here today with Senator Birdwell and Representative Guillen, so they could see firsthand the work being done by the brave men and women of Operation Lone Star and so we could review plans for the next two years,” said Governor Abbott. “We're sending a message today: If you're coming toward the United States of America and thinking about making a border crossing in the State of Texas, you're picking the wrong state to try to enter into.”
During the roundtable discussion, the Governor and state leaders outlined Texas’ expanding strategies to secure our southern border and legislative actions needed to continue funding the state’s historic defense of the border in President Biden’s absence.
Last week, Governor Abbott delivered his 2023 State of the State address, in which he named securing the border and addressing the fentanyl crisis as two of his seven emergency items for the 88th Legislative Session.
To continue addressing President Biden’s border crisis in full force, Governor Abbott will work with members of the legislature to secure more funding to bolster border security efforts and pass legislation mandating a minimum jail sentence for human smuggling, among other proposals. To fight the devastating fentanyl crisis, the Governor has proposed working with the legislature to prosecute an individual for murder if they distribute fentanyl or drugs laced with fentanyl that kill someone, as well as other actions.
Governor Abbott this week spoke with Amarillo’s ABC 7 News on designating border security as an emergency item for the Texas legislature to address this session. Because President Biden has dismantled every effective border security strategy enacted by the previous administration, Texas is now having to step up to combat record-high illegal border crossings.
“We need both new strategies as well as greater investment in what we’re currently doing,” said Governor Abbott.
After naming combatting the fentanyl crisis an emergency item this legislative session, Governor Abbott discussed with Tyler’s CBS 19 how he will direct state law enforcement to disrupt and stop the flow of fentanyl in Texas communities. With DPS and law enforcement partners seizing record amounts of fentanyl along the border, the Governor highlighted the need to protect communities statewide as the fentanyl crisis continues to expand.
“This horrific tragedy that’s taking place is all because of President Biden’s open border policies,” said Governor Abbott. “This grew dramatically after President Biden stopped enforcing immigration laws along the border.”
Governor Abbott joined Lubbock’s KAMC on Tuesday to discuss the Biden Administration’s efforts to end Title 42 in May and the devastating impacts it will have on Texas communities.
“The Biden Administration itself has said it has anticipated that with the removal of Title 42, there may be as many as 18,000 people crossing the border illegally a day,” said Governor Abbott. “Calculate that, and it adds up to more than 6 million a year. As bad as things are, they’re about to get worse.”
DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez joined Fox News this week to point out that the new border policy President Biden wants to put forward will actually serve as a magnet for illegal immigrants claiming asylum at ports of entry. DPS notes most illegal immigrants are seeking asylum based on political or economic reasons, which are not justifiable asylum claims, and the new mobile app will create an increase in the flow of mass migration.
“It doesn’t take into account that there is going to be a more widespread abuse of the asylum process,” said Lt. Olivarez. “Something needs to be done, not just in terms of the mass migration we’re seeing, but also the amount of drugs like fentanyl coming across the border and the gotaways.”
Texas Border Czar Mike Banks recently toured the Texas National Guard emplacements and fortified positions along the Rio Grande River near Brownsville.
“I wanted to come to speak with the airmen and soldiers on the frontlines to find out what resources and tools are working the best to stem illegal immigration,” said Border Czar Banks. “We are going to expand our infrastructure and utilize advanced technology to continue to curb criminal activity at our border.”
DPS Apprehends 34 Illegal Immigrants In Several Operations In Maverick County
DPS’ Special Operations Group apprehended a total of 34 illegal immigrants during numerous operations in Maverick County. The illegal immigrants were transported in railcars, with some concealed inside brand new vehicles on an auto rack. All were from Mexico, Honduras, or Guatemala and referred to Border Patrol.
A DPS trooper was conducting a traffic stop in Dimmit County when the driver and four illegal immigrants bailed out and ran toward the brush. The driver, also an illegal immigrant, was caught, arrested, and charged with human smuggling and evading arrest. The four illegal immigrants were referred to Border Patrol.
Texas Air National Guard Airmen Apprehend Drug Smugglers, Seize Cannabis
This week, Texas Air National Guard airmen detected and apprehended three drug smugglers near Brownsville and seized 112 pounds of cannabis with a street value of $89,000. The soldiers used advanced day and night optics to help spot the suspected drug smugglers illegally crossing the Rio Grande River.
“The situation began to unfold when our Border Patrol partners let us know they saw some suspicious activity near the border,” said Staff Sergeant Santos Flores, a Special Operations team member in Task Force South. “I formulated a plan on how our team could operate tactically and stealthily, putting us in the best position to apprehend the drug traffickers.”
DPS brush teams conduct early morning patrols in the Rio Grande Valley to interdict human smugglers who attempt to evade authorities and avoid detection by traveling through residential areas in South Texas. After a high speed pursuit, DPS brush teams apprehended illegal immigrants who were evading detection underneath a house and arrested a human smuggler who was hiding at a Texas residence during a Telemundo 40 ride along.
DPS Apprehends Nine Chinese Nationals During Operation In Rio Grande Valley
DPS’ Special Operations Group, along with the Texas National Guard, apprehended nine Chinese nationals during operations in the Rio Grande Valley this week. All nine were referred to Border Patrol.