Our friends at the Daily Caller are reporting that the Biden Department of Justice, headed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, has launched an investigation of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security initiative following reports of enforcement and personnel issues associated with the effort.
The Daily Caller’s Jennie Taer reports Abbott launched “Operation Lone Star” in March 2021 in an attempt to step in where he argued the Biden administration had failed to secure the southern border. The Biden investigation alleges civil rights violations and discrimination in the effort, according to ProPublica.
In launching Operation Lone Star, Left-leaning Pro Publica claims Abbott went further than any other governor in recent history, attempting to curtail immigration by using state trespassing charges to directly target those who cross the border on private property.
The federal government has sole authority to enforce immigration laws, but Abbott increased trespassing penalties under a declaration that gave him more power akin to what he would have after a natural disaster.
In June, the governor shifted the operation’s emphasis from the Rio Grande Valley, where political leaders opposed some of his efforts, to a vast rural region of mostly private ranches around Val Verde County, about 170 miles west of San Antonio. (Trump won the county by a 10-point margin in 2020.) Until this year, Val Verde and Kinney were the only two counties prosecuting people crossing into the country through private property for trespassing.
The misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to a year in jail, makes up about 40% of the operation’s arrests from mid-July to Jan. 27, an analysis by ProPublica, the Tribune and the Marshall Project found.
The report follows a ProPublica investigation that concluded that some of the arrests counted weren’t connected to the border and drugs seized across the state were counted to make the program’s stats look better.
Soldiers of the Texas Guard deployed to the border, and interviewed by the Texas Tribune, said the effort has been effective in securing the border, but they complained that they had not been paid timely - if at all.
The Pro Publica report, complied by Lefty “journalists” complains that Abbott’s administration cooked the books and added non-border-related arrests to the statistics to make the program look more effective.
As part of the operation, DPS and Texas Military Department officials reported apprehending more than 200,000 migrants in the past year and referring them to the federal government for deportation. That included eight migrants who were caught rafting across the Rio Grande by DPS troopers, National Guard members and Border Patrol agents in November, and Pro Publica beefs that some agencies may be double counting or taking credit for arrests made by others in their stats.
And of course, there are the universal charges of racism any time more vigorous enforcement of criminal law or border enforcement occurs.
Texas state Democrats, led by the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, announced a task force early this month to investigate “many layers of grave concerns” about the operation, including alleged human rights violations and a lack of accountability. Abbott’s office has said the arrests and prosecutions under the operation “are fully constitutional.”
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice acknowledged a “formal investigation” by the DOJ into Operation Lone Star, according to ProPublica. The department’s deputy general counsel said in the letter that the DOJ is investigating whether Texas authorities are subjecting those arrested to “differential and unlawful conditions of confinement based on their perceived or actual race or national origin.”
“If you are not already aware, the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ is investigating Operation Lone Star,” Department of Public Safety (DPS) assistant general counsel Kaylyn Betts wrote in an email sent on May 23, according to documents obtained by ProPublica.
Governor Abbott’s office rebutted the Biden DOJ’s claims strongly, the reported investigation is merely evidence that Biden isn’t focused on border security, Abbott’s Press Secretary Renae Eze told TheDCNF.
“Instead of addressing the border disaster created by President Biden’s open border policies, the Biden Administration is attacking the only state taking unprecedented actions to do the federal government’s job and secure our southern border. Texas continues stepping up to secure our border, deploying thousands of Texas National Guard soldiers and DPS troopers and allocating over $4 billion of Texas taxpayer money for border security, including building our own border wall and erecting strategic barriers,” Eze told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“It’s time for President Biden to fulfill his oath of office and secure our southern border,” Eze added.
We commend Gov. Abbott for organizing and securing funding for Operation Lone Star and agree with Ms. Eze – the Biden administration isn’t focused on securing the border, they are acting as the last mile delivery service for those who are behind the invasion.
Texas border counties
Kinney County Judge Tully Shahan
Operation Lone Star
Governor Greg Abbott
Val Verde county
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich
Texas National Guard
Civil Rights Division investigation