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Abbott faces backlash on Operation Lone Star with border protests this weekend

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 8/6/2022 Anna Giaritelli

AUSTIN, Texas — Activists from progressive immigrant rights groups will descend on four cities across Texas this weekend to protest how Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) has spent billions of dollars mobilizing thousands of state troopers and military to the Mexican border in the past year.

Protesters will rally in border cities Brownsville, El Paso, Pharr, and Presidio on Saturday morning, according to Border Report.


"Border Communities Speaking Up in Resistance to Racist Assaults and White Supremacy. Operation Lonestar is a policy that Gov. Abbott implemented on our border criminalizing migrants. Operation Lonestar is responsible for hundreds of migrants dying at our Texas border. FIGHT, RECEIVE AND PARTICIPATE!!!!" reads an Instagram post by the El Paso-based Border Network for Human Rights.

In March 2021, Abbott launched a statewide initiative known as Operation Lone Star, in which state troopers from the state's Department of Public Safety would be sent to the border to help arrest illegal immigrants and drug smugglers while Border Patrol agents were pulled from the field to transport and process people in custody. The state's National Guard was also deployed and has assisted with detaining illegal immigrants as they come across the border, holding them until law enforcement arrives.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott LM Otero/AP © Provided by Washington Examiner Texas Gov. Greg Abbott LM Otero/AP

As a result of the operation, the state has apprehended more than 290,000 illegal immigrants who would likely have slipped into the United States without being detected. It has also arrested 18,000 on criminal trespass charges for entering privately owned land.

ProPublica and the Texas Tribune exposed in July that the Department of Justice had launched an investigation into possible civil rights violations under Operation Lone Star. Officers and soldiers involved have been accused of racially profiling people and were found to have inflated some arrest numbers.

In April, 15 men who were arrested on charges of criminal trespass sued Abbott to end his policy of arresting migrants for such charges.

"These policies criminalize and incarcerate immigrants, pushing them to undertake dangerous routes to access the country which, in many cases, lead to death," BNHR said in a statement.

The governor's office maintained Friday that its work on the border was meant 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,” the state said Friday.


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Tags: Border Crisis, Texas, Greg Abbott, Immigrants, Protests

Original Author: Anna Giaritelli

Original Location: Abbott faces backlash on Operation Lone Star with border protests this weekend


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