A group of 26 Democrat representatives has called on the federal government to launch an investigation into Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s border enforcement operation “Operation Lone Star”. In a letter led by San Antonio representative Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland, members of Congress called for an immediate investigation into what they believe Abbott’s efforts to create “separate state immigration policy”.
Twenty-five other Democrat representatives in Congress on Friday signed a letter calling for an investigation into Abbott’s Operation Lone Star. Among the signatories were six representatives of Texas. Among the Texas representatives who signed the letter are Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, Veronica Escobar of El Paso, Colin Alred of Dallas, Sylvia Garcia of Houston, Filemon Vela of Brownsville, and Lloyd Doggett of Austin. Democrat Henry Cuellar of Lared, Texas, was not particularly among the signatories.
The letter hints that Abbott’s operation is negatively affecting the border justice system and claims:
The use of Governor Abbott’s military and police presence at the border and his arrests of migrants have flooded local justice systems, creating legal and logistical problems and prolonged delays. Texas counties don’t have enough employees or technology to manage hundreds of cases. In particular, one county, Kinney County, had to deal with more than 80 percent of cases, and many migrants there were without lawyers for weeks. In the last month, the state has issued several legal deadlines for filing charges, and prisons have to release defendants without charges, which also did not happen in all cases. As a result, almost 1,000 migrants sit in prison for weeks and sometimes more than a month.
Representatives argue that the operation led to the illegal separation of migrant families and is likely to violate the supremacy clause in that federal law replaces state law. Operation Lone Star began in March and involves the deployment of Texas Highway Patrol soldiers and Texas National Guard troops to border areas in Texas.
In June, Abbott emptied a Texas jail so he could accept persecution of migrants for a crime when he is arrested by state authorities on private property. In August, Abbott granted Texas National Guard soldiers an arrest warrant to assist in that effort.
Initially, more than 1,000 highway patrol soldiers and members of the National Guard were sent to the border to support Operation Lone Star. These numbers increased when the Haitian migrant crisis developed in September in Del Rio, Texas.
During the Haitian migrant crisis in Del Rio, Abbott increased state funding to the area to strengthen the border patrol and prevent further entries into the makeshift migrant camp, which houses nearly 15,000 mostly Haitian migrants.
Recently, under the auspices of Operation Lone Star, Abbott deployed additional Texas National Guard troops to blockade of illegal crossings in several border towns in Texas. The move is linked to the imminent arrival of a migrant caravan he is currently traveling through Mexico and heading to the US.
Kot reported Breitbart Texas, state and local law enforcement agencies are increasingly finding themselves abandoning border enforcement activities that were once conducted exclusively by border patrols. The border patrol has reduced or eliminated its routine border patrols in some areas as the agency seeks to process and care for the thousands of migrants arrested daily.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol. Prior to retiring, he served as head of the law enforcement operations department and led operations for nine border patrols in the Del Rio sector of Texas. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.