TEXAS, USA — Governor Greg Abbott’s border security plan is coming under fire.
Two dozen Democratic members of Congress are urging the federal government to investigate Operation Lone Star.
The group of lawmakers penned a letter to the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security last week asking for a review of Abbott’s state created immigration policy. The group including, San Antonio representatives Joaquin Castro and Lloyd Doggett, said Abbott’s plan violates federal laws and is “wreaking havoc on the state’s judicial system.”
The letter outlines their concerns accusing Abbott of interfering with federal immigration laws and taking away migrants’ right to legal due process after being arrested on state criminal trespass charges.
Operation Lone Star kicked off in July when Abbott authorized state troopers to arrest migrants for criminal trespassing.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, more than 1,600 migrants have been arrested since July.
Lt. Chris Olivares with DPS said the operation is focused on private property and railyards in Kinney and Val Verde Counties.
“As long as the elements of the crime are there, in this case, criminal trespass, when they're on their property, they are violating state law,” said Olivares.
But, those 26 members of Congress disagree.
In the letter, accuse Abbott’s plan of violating the Supremacy Clause of the constitution by creating state policy to bypass federal immigration laws.
The lawmakers explain in the letter that the arrests are overwhelming local justice systems in rural counties with limited manpower.
The backlog, they said, causing delays in filing charges, leaving migrants sitting in prison for months, some without legal counsel.
But, Governor Abbott said the state is addressing what he calls the Biden created border crisis “head-on.”
Abbott didn’t respond to the specifics of the accusations outlined in the letter, but Renae Eze, a spokesperson from his office, sent us this statement in response:
“Texans deserve to have the rule of law enforced on the Texas border, and that is exactly what Governor Abbott is doing. President Biden’s dangerous and reckless open border policies have created a crisis along our southern border and across the country. Governor Abbott is addressing this crisis head-on to protect Texans and Americans alike, initiating a comprehensive border security plan and launching Operation Lone Star to combat the smuggling of people and drugs. Until President Biden and his Administration do their job to enforce the laws of our nation and protect Americans, the State of Texas will continue stepping up to secure our border and protect our communities.”
KENS reached out to Congressman Castro to discuss his concerns about Operation Lone Star, but wasn’t available for an interview.
Meanwhile, it’s unclear if the DOJ or DHS has responded to the letter.
The full letter is available here.