TEXAS – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) this past weekend announced a new operation aimed at combating “the smuggling of people and drugs into Texas.”
According to Abbott’s office, Operation Lone Star will involve the integration of DPS and the Texas National Guard to provide surge response in high-threat areas. That surge will include air, ground, Marine, and tactical border security assets.
The target, the governor’s office says, is Mexican drug cartels and other smugglers.
“The crisis at our southern border continues to escalate because of Biden Administration policies that refuse to secure the border and invite illegal immigration,” Abbott wrote in a news release. “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.”
The surge follows a meeting between Gov. Abbott and DPS Director Col. Steve McCarw. Abbott earlier suggested immigrants are contributing to the spread of COVID-19 in Texas, a statement that was criticized. A short time later, the governor announced he is lifting the statewide mask mandate.
"[President Biden] is bringing in illegal immigrants into the state of Texas and then releasing them, and many of whom have COVID. The president and his administration need to step up and stop this program,” Abbott said. “First of promoting illegal immigration, but second, allowing people who are coming to this country, to spread COVID across the entire country."
The Biden administration is actively reversing many of former president Donald Trump’s immigration policies. Among other moves, the administration is starting to process the roughly 25,000 asylum seekers with active court cases in the U.S. who were being made to wait.