House lawmakers, led by Rep. Veronica Escobar, had previously voiced concern over soldiers being able to carry their personal weapons, in a Jan. 13 letter to the Texas Military Department (TMD) inspector general. They cited a “brewing mental health crisis.”
Some of the military deaths have been suicides. All six deaths have been tied to personal weaponry, Army Times said. ”A source familiar with operational planning told Army Times that the headquarters overseeing the mission ‘is working on a policy about personal weapons,’ though it’s not clear what restrictions would be put in place and when,” the report continued.
But that’s been just one of the many troubling issues surrounding this sham of a border policy, which has been in place for nearly a year and swept up thousands of asylum-seekers and migrants, most of them Black or Latino.
Soldiers tied to the policy have complained of “shortages of critical equipment, including cold-weather gear, medical equipment, and plates for their ballistic vests,” Military Times and The Texas Tribune said in a joint report late last month. One complained about being pulled from his small business, losing $60,000 in contracts. Following weeks of nothing, he was just sent back home. Others complained of a lack of toilets, with female soldiers being told to go in the bushes or to hold it.
None of this even touches on the civil rights violations against asylum-seekers swept up under the policy. “Near the border, Texas law enforcement directed individuals to a particular place—giving them the impression they had permission to be on the property—and then arrested them for trespassing,” civil rights organizations have said in urging for a federal probe. While Escobar has also led a House letter urging a TMD inspector general probe, and 50 members of the Texas House issued a letter urging a Justice Department probe, Abbott has continued his campaign stunt at the expense of state taxpayers, asylum-seekers, soldiers.
In a statement, Abbott claimed that “our hearts are heavy at the news of the tragic death of a Texas Guardsman stationed at the border as part of Operation Lone Star, and that “the Texas Rangers will conduct a thorough investigation into this tragedy and the Texas Military Department is taking action to ensure such loss of life never happens again." He can begin working to ensure that by ending the damn policy.
RELATED: Soldiers are speaking out about Greg Abbott's Operation Lone Star border scheme. They hate it
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