50 members of the Texas House of Representatives are urging the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security open an “immediate” investigation into Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, citing likely violations of federal and state laws and the scheme’s targeting of Black and Latino asylum-seekers, among a number of issues. A number of Texas National Guard members tied to the scheme have tragically died in recent months.
“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,” lawmakers write.
“From its inception, Operation Lone Star has suffered from Constitutional deficiencies that upend our federal system of government,” lawmakers tell Attorney General Merrick Garland and DHS Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas, noting the right-wing governor “has unilaterally set this state immigration policy and created a system of state immigration enforcement to be carried out by various state agencies.” Just this month, a state district judge threw out charges against one asylum-seeker swept up under trespassing charges, ruling the state’s arrest usurped federal authority.
”Because this ruling dismissed the case of one person, we urge an investigation into whether similar arrests executed under Operation Lone Star identically violate the U.S. Constitution,” lawmakers continue.
“Furthermore, on Dec. 24, 2021, Members of the Texas Legislature and of Congress received an anonymous email from a Soldier in the Texas Army expressing grave concerns with Operation Lone Star, including four reported deaths by suicide of Texas Guardsmen over the course of the operation.” But when confronted by media on this string of deaths, Abbott’s cowardly reaction was to complain about President Joe Biden. The border scheme, in operation since last March, has been resoundingly applauded by the anti-immigrant hate group Center for Immigration Studies.
“We should ignore the governor’s attempts to deflect responsibility for the deaths of Guardsmen whom he is using as political pawns and get to the bottom of the causes for these tragedies,” lawmakers said. Click here for a full list of letter signatories.
“When Governor Abbott is in a political jam, he trashes our Texas border and uses Texas soldiers as a campaign backdrop. And our men and women in uniform deserve better and are sick and tired of this treatment," State Rep. Rafael Anchía said, according to WFAA. "No American soldier should have to wonder if they will be able to provide for their family or pay rent. We urge the Department of Justice to launch an investigation into Operation Lone Star to protect Texan troops."
This is the second time this month that lawmakers have called for an urgent probe of Abbott’s political scheme. In their letter, Texas’ Congressional delegation called on the Texas Military Department (TMD) inspector general to investigate Operation Lone Star. They noted that soldiers have been pulled from families and opportunities with just a few days' notice, only to be faced with everything from “chronic underpayment issues” to lack of proper equipment and sleeping facilities.
“When National Guardsmen are deployed on state active-duty orders, their well-being is entrusted to the state,” lawmakers told TMD Inspector General Colonel Daniel Heape. “However, it is clear State leadership does not have our troops' best interest in mind. Instead, they continue to use them as political props, whether it be through assigning them to support OLS or by refusing to comply with federal vaccine requirements intended to protect them from COVID-19.”
“As such, we urge you to launch a full investigation into TMD’s actions related to OLS and how this mission impacts the well-being, morale, and overall readiness of our troops so Texans can have a full accounting of what is happening to these service members.”