Texas Gov. Abbott Says Operation Lone Star Is Working as Illegal Immigrant Encounters Plunge

Texas Gov. Abbott Says Operation Lone Star Is Working as Illegal Immigrant Encounters Plunge
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott arrives in Downing Street prior to a meeting in London on March 13, 2024. (Peter Nicholls/Getty Images)

Gov. Greg Abbott said that the inflow of illegal immigrants into Texas has dropped considerably, claiming that the proactive measures undertaken by state authorities are beginning to show results.

“Operation Lone Star is working,” Mr. Abbott said in a March 27 post on the social media platform X. The operation was launched by the Republican governor in 2021 to tackle the southern border’s illegal immigrant crisis as well as deal with the smuggling of people and drugs across the border. “Illegal crossings are going down in TX while at the same time they are skyrocketing in CA & AZ. It’s b/c of the border wall, razor wire barriers, the National Guard & arrests by DPS (Department of Public Safety),” he said.

Mr. Abbott pointed to a March 26 report from media watchdog Media Research Center (MRC) to substantiate his claims.

“The number of Border Patrol encounters with illegal aliens in Texas continued to plunge in February, thanks to the effectiveness of Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star,” the report said. “Meanwhile, encounters spiked again in California and Arizona, where Democrat governors are in charge, as illegal aliens increasingly turned their focus to more welcoming borders.”

As part of Operation Lone Star, Mr. Abbott deployed floating border barriers, installed wire fencing, and used the Texas National Guard to stem the flow of illegal immigrants. “And, his efforts have been successful,” the report stated.

During the first five months of fiscal year 2024, from October 2023 to February 2024, encounters with illegal immigrants at Texas entry points fell by 28 percent compared to the same period a year ago. In contrast, border agent encounters at entry points in California were up by 35 percent during this period. California is led by Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom.

In Arizona, the number of illegal immigrant encounters surged 52 percent. Arizona is led by Democrat Gov. Katie Hobbs. MRC attributed this increase to an “onslaught of illegal aliens” attempting to enter the United States via the state’s Tucson Sector where encounters are up by 167 percent in the first five months of this fiscal year.

“While Arizona has not openly declared that it welcomes illegal immigration, Gov. Hobbs has not taken steps similar to those of Mr. Abbott to secure the border,” the report said.

“Thus, now that breaking into the country through the Texas border has become a much more daunting task, illegal aliens appear to be migrating westward to enter through states that are less zealous about securing their borders.”

Thwarting Illegal Immigrants

Texas marked the third anniversary of Operation Lone Star earlier this month. Since the launch of the operation, it has resulted in more than 503,800 illegal immigrant apprehensions and over 40,400 criminal arrests, which include more than 36,100 felony charges.

Law enforcement officers have seized over 469 million lethal doses of the synthetic opioid fentanyl during this period. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), synthetic opioids are the primary cause of overdose deaths in the United States.

Mr. Abbott criticized the Biden administration’s poor handling of the border crisis. He called President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address this month “nothing short of a dog and pony show to convince the American people that his Administration is keeping America safe and secure.”

“Until President Biden steps up and does his job as Commander-in-Chief to secure the border, Texas will hold the line and use every tool and strategy to keep our country safe,” he said.

In late January, Mr. Abbott issued a statement affirming Texas’s constitutional right to defend and protect itself from an “invasion” of illegal immigrants.

The framers of the U.S. Constitution included clauses stating that the federal government is obliged to “protect each [State] against invasion” and acknowledging the states’ “sovereign interest in protecting their borders,” he pointed out.

This is because the framers “foresaw that States should not be left to the mercy of a lawless president who does nothing to stop external threats like cartels smuggling millions of illegal immigrants across the border.” Mr. Abbott accused President Biden of failing to “perform his constitutional duties.”

The president “has violated his oath to faithfully execute immigration laws enacted by Congress. Instead of prosecuting immigrants for the federal crime of illegal entry, President Biden has sent his lawyers into federal courts to sue Texas for taking action to secure the border.”

Mr. Abott said that due to President Biden’s “lawless border policies,” more than 6 million illegal immigrants have crossed the southern border in just 3 years. “That is more than the population of 33 different States in this country. This illegal refusal to protect the States has inflicted unprecedented harm on the People all across the United States.”

According to data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, since the start of fiscal 2024, there have been more encounters in the southwest land border each month than in the same month in the previous fiscal year.

The total number of border encounters in the first five months of fiscal 2024 was more than 1.15 million, up by almost 12 percent from the 1.03 million in the same period in fiscal 2023.

Meanwhile, an anti-illegal immigration law signed by Mr. Abbott is being held up in court. Senate Bill 4 makes it a state crime for immigrants to cross into Texas from Mexico other than through legal entry points.

A person violating the rule can be punished with a six-month prison term.

Repeat violations would subject the person to up to 20 years in prison. The rule allows law enforcement authorities to seek papers from illegal immigrants and arrest them almost anywhere in the state.

From The Epoch Times

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