Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday that he will allocate $100 million to address the crisis at the southern border.
“We are arresting and jailing anybody who comes across the border illegally and trespasses on private property or on public lands,” Abbott said at a news conference in Del Rio, Texas. “It’s not the Biden administration’s catch and release policy. It’s the arrest and jail policy sending a message to these folks and anybody thinking about coming here, you may end up with handcuffs on your hands and go straight to jail.”
Operation Lone Star (OLS) was launched in March to address human trafficking and drug smuggling at the border. Later, the operation’s mission was expanded to include constructing fencing and border barriers.
The additional funding for OLS will come from new money allocated for border security by the Texas legislature and funded by the state taxpayers. On Friday, the governor signed HB 9 into law which secured the funding for this project.
In total, the bill appropriates $1.8 billion to Texas border security efforts.
OLS supports local law enforcement, jail administrators, medical examiners, and court administration officials as they deal with the surge of illegal immigration at the US-Mexico border. This includes increasing the capacity and expediency in the registration and criminal trials of defendants. The funding will also help expand the capacity of detention operations and support county medical examiner offices.
According to DJ Journal, “The grant money is available to local governments involved in a range of law enforcement efforts, from arresting to prosecuting those who crossed the border illegally and committed other crimes, and to providing medical and other services as needed.”
The OLS Grant Program will be administered by the governor’s Public Safety Office.
The Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Military Department held their first media briefing for the project last week.
During the briefing, “DPS Regional Director Victor Escalon said they’re already seeing a 44% increase in criminal pursuits in the Valley. Though their footprint in the Valley is much lighter, most of it moving up north to Val Verde County. Escalon said Starr County and parts of Hidalgo County remain heavy in drug trafficking activity,” per KRGV.
“A lot of times we see a criminal violation or a traffic violation and we’re going to make a stop and take appropriate action,” Escalon said.
Last week, the Texas governor closed several entry points along the border as new footage captured over 8,000 migrants waiting under a bridge near Del Rio, Texas.
“The sheer negligence of the Biden Administration to do their job and secure the border is appalling,” Abbott said in a statement announcing the closures. “The border crisis is so dire that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is requesting our help as their agents are overwhelmed by the chaos. Unlike President Biden, the State of Texas remains committed to securing our border and protecting Americans.”