Texas’ multibillion-dollar border operation raises questions Otesanya David March 22, 2022

Texas’ multibillion-dollar border operation raises questions

Texas’ multibillion-dollar border operation raises questions


Gov. Greg Abbott has touted the success of his $3 billion effort to secure the Texas-Mexico border by claiming arrests and crimes that weren’t connected to the operation, according to a ProPublica investigation.

Why it matters: Operation Lone Star costs taxpayers more than $2.5 million a week and is a cornerstone of Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign.

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Driving the news: State leaders initially reported 11,000 criminal arrests in connection with the border operation but later removed more than 2,000 charges from the Operation Lone Star tally, including arrests for sexual assault, stalking and cockfighting.

  • Several former law enforcement officials told ProPublica the counts from Operation Lone Star don’t allow the state to gauge what it’s accomplishing, largely because the tallies included 63 counties and work done with resources that were already in place.

Context: Thousands of state troopers and National Guard members have been deployed to the border and are arresting some people coming into the U.S. on state criminal trespassing charges.

By the numbers: Abbott has repeatedly pointed to drug seizures as examples of the border operation’s success during campaign events, saying law enforcement seized 887 pounds of fentanyl.

Details: ProPublica reviewed the state’s handling of the law enforcement operation in a joint investigation with The Texas Tribune and The Marshall Project.

Go deeper: Read the full investigation here.

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