50 House Democrats ask Biden administration to end Operation Lone Star

50 House Democrats ask Biden administration to end Operation Lone Star

Isabel Webb Carey
Isabel Webb Carey
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January 27, 2022

Fifty Texas House Democrats asked the Biden administration Wednesday to “use all tools at your disposal” to end Gov. Greg Abbott’s border program, Operation Lone Star.

In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the Democratic lawmakers argued that Operation Lone Star violates the U.S. Constitution by superseding federal law and overburdening state agencies. They accused Abbott of misusing state resources by diverting over $3 billion in taxpayer money for border security. They also drew attention to the “vast umbrella of civil rights violations” occurring under the operation.

Abbott launched Operation Lone Star in March 2021, deploying thousands of National Guardsmen, Texas Department of Public Safety officers, and other state resources to the border and giving them the authority to arrest migrants under suspicion of criminal trespassing on private and state property. At least 10,000 Texas National Guard soldiers have been deployed to the Texas/Mexico border. Despite the unprecedented spending, several reports have come to light of poor working and living conditions for troops, habitual pay problems, and suspected suicides tied to the operation. 

“To allow the transgressions mentioned herein to go unaccounted for would constitute a gross abdication of the responsibility to uphold the rule of law and our federal system of government,” the lawmakers wrote. “We ask that you expeditiously review Operation Lone Star and use all tools at your disposal to end the policy in light of the very serious constitutional concerns outlined above.”

This is not the first time Abbott’s border policy has come under scrutiny. A Travis County judge ruled in early January that the arrest of an Ecuadorian migrant under “Operation Lone Star” violated the U.S. Constitution. Some immigration advocates are hopeful the ruling by Travis County Judge Jan Soifer could set a pathway for other migrants arrested under the controversial program.

“When Governor Abbott is in a political jam, he trashes our Texas border and uses Texas soldiers as a campaign backdrop. And our men and women in uniform deserve better and are sick and tired of this treatment,” said State Rep. Rafael Anchía, MALC Chairman.  “No American soldier should have to wonder if they will be able to provide for their family or pay rent. We urge the Department of Justice to launch an investigation into Operation Lone Star to protect Texan troops.”

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Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey attends the University of Texas at Austin in the Plan II Honors Program with a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. Her interests include education, local governance, sustainability, and equity. Isabel enjoys dancing, hiking, and live music. She is also a staff writer for the Texas Orator. Email her at isabelwebbcarey@gmail.com
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