(CNSNews.com) — A state-level initiative to counter the swarm of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas has, to date, resulted in more than 348,000 apprehansions and the seizure of more than 361 million doses of the deadly drug fentanyl.
The initiative, Operation Lone Star, was created by Texas’s Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in March 2021.
As Abbott explained then, “The crisis at our southern border continues to escalate because of Biden administration policies that refuse to secure the border and invite illegal immigration. Texas supports legal immigration but will not be an accomplice to the open border policies that cause, rather than prevent, a humanitarian crisis in our state and endanger the lives of Texans. We will surge the resources and law enforcement personnel needed to confront this crisis.”
Operation Lone Star utilizes personnel and resources from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Texas National Guard. Although they cannot enforce federal immigraiton laws, they can pursue illegal immigrants and drug traffickers in “high threat areas.”
Those areas, mostly along the border, were declared disaster regions by the governor in May 2021. Under that declaration, Abbott can deploy the National Guard and the DPS, as well as personnel from the Texas Military Department (TMD).
“Since the launch of Operation Lone Star, the multi-agency effort has led to over 348,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions and more than 24,000 criminal arrests, with more than 22,000 felony charges reported,” stated a Feb. 10 press release from the governor’s office.
“In the fight against fentanyl, DPS has seized over 361 million lethal doses of fentanyl during this border mission,” said the release.
In addition, “Texas has also bused more than 9,100 migrants to our nation’s capital since April, over 5,200 migrants to New York City since August 5, more than 1,500 migrants to Chicago since August 31, and more than 890 migrants to Philadelphia since November 15.”
The statement further said, “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.”
The governor’s office also announced that it has hired a Texas Border Czar to “fill the dangerous gaps created by President Biden’s open border policies.” The Border Czar, Mike Banks, is a former Border Patrol Agent who has worked in border security for 23 years.
Banks will report to Gov. Abbott and will work daily “with TMD, DPS, and other state agencies, local officials, and Texas landowners to carry out Operation Lone Star’s mission of deterring and repelling migrants from illegally crossing into Texas from Mexico,” said the governor’s office.
“[The Biden administration] has left Texas as a frontier outpost, leaving us to our own devices to have to secure our own border,” said Gov. Abbott. “That’s why I hired someone who served in Border Patrol for more than 20 years in leadership positions, including the Border Patrol headquarters in Washington, D.C., to be the first Border Czar in the history of Texas to help lead our efforts on the border.”
According to the government watchdog Judicial Watch, “a record-breaking 2.4 million migrants” were apprehended in 2022, “up from an already shocking high of 1.7 million in 2021. Among the apprehended were hundreds of gang members—mostly from the famously violent Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13)—and dozens of people on the national terrorist watchlist.”
FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, estimates that there are 14.3 million illegal aliens in the U.S., and that the annual cost of dealing with illegals is at least $132 billion.
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