Criminal JusticeImmigration & BorderIssuesStatewide NewsTexas Has Arrested Over 302,000 Illegal Immigrants via Operation Lone Star, per Governor’s Office

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas authored a letter last month disputing the legality of Operation Lone Star.
September 9, 2022
The State of Texas has arrested 302,600 illegal immigrants for transfer to federal authorities since the beginning of Operation Lone Star, according to a new release published by Gov. Greg Abbott’s office on Friday.

There have been 19,700 criminal arrests and 17,200 felony charges filed during the operation, the news release added. 340.5 million deadly doses of fentanyl have also been confiscated.

On March 6, 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott deployed the state’s military and officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to the southern border to apprehend illegal aliens and deter illegal immigration.

Since then, Abbott and the Legislature have upped the ante for border security measures several times. He has signed legislation to appropriate billions of dollars to Operation Lone Star, orchestrated a state border wall project, and his administration recently announced a $5,000 reward for tips leading to the disruption of stash houses.

“As President Biden’s dangerous open border policies continue to allow cartels and other criminal organizations to operate freely in our communities, it is more important than ever that Texans step up and report suspicious activity,” Abbott remarked. 

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“These stash houses contain people or drugs that may have otherwise made their way across Texas and the nation because of the dangerous gaps left by the Biden Administration’s refusal to secure the border.”

On August 8, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas sent a letter to the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security complaining that state police are encroaching on duties assigned to the federal government.

The ACLU of Texas pointed to the executive order Abbott signed on July 7 calling illegal immigration an “invasion” and directing state police and National Guardsmen to transport foreign individuals back to ports of entry if they are in the country illegally.

“We urge the Department of Homeland Security not to collaborate with these actions by Texas state police,” attorneys Kathryn Huddleston and Naureen Shah wrote. 

“Specifically, DHS should decline to take custody of individuals in these circumstances, and should prevent Texas state and local officials from detaining individuals on federal property pursuant to Governor Abbott’s executive order.”

Alluding to media reporters, the interest group also cited its concern for the health and safety of illegal immigrants being detained, contending that DPS is not obligated to follow the same guidelines for detaining people as federal authorities.

“The unilateral arrest and transport of migrants on immigration grounds by state officers and the detention of migrants on federal property by state officers raise serious legal concerns —  including violation of CBP detention conditions standards and protections against discriminatory treatment,” they wrote.

They raised the example of individuals required to wait outside in scorching heat while being shuffled from state custody to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Operation Lone Star is also the subject of a federal civil rights investigation, according to communications obtained by The Texas Tribune.

CBP reported more than 1.8 million apprehensions of illegal immigrants through July of this fiscal year.

A copy of the ACLU of Texas’ letter can be found below


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."