In a letter emailed Wednesday that was signed by a majority of the Democratic caucus, lawmakers characterized the border security operation as unconstitutional and a “militarization of Texas’ border communities.”
Listing several complaints, the Democrats contended that the operation “was launched on the heels of a rise in anti-immigrant rhetoric” and has racially discriminatory intent.
“Under the vast umbrella of civil rights violations resulting from the execution of Operation Lone Star are a series of due process transgressions which warrant immediate review,” they wrote.
The letter contains about a dozen footnotes, most of which provide links to reports from media outlets, but not official documents. The citations include a reference to the U.S. Constitution and a description of Arizona v. United States, a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that invalidated portions of an Arizona law enacted in 2010 designed to crack down on illegal immigration.
They referenced the paycheck issues affecting National Guardsmen and other “grave concerns” about Abbott’s and the Texas Military Department’s handling of Operation Lone Star.
Citing the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, they argued that Abbott has taken upon himself a duty that belongs to the federal government.
They emphasized the procedural rights of those being taken into custody.
“The fundamental constitutional protections of due process and equal protection embodied in our Constitution and Bill of Rights apply to every person, regardless of immigration status,” the lawmakers wrote.
They added, “We ask that you expeditiously review Operation Lone Star and use all tools at your disposal to end the policy in light of the very serious constitutional concerns outlined above.”
Though the execution of Operation Lone Star has faced sharp criticisms from Abbott’s political opponents, including even Republicans, members of both parties supported additional funding for the operation during the second called legislative session in 2021.
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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."