By Gabrielle Stephenson
Texas has approved the transfer of $495.3 million to fund Operation Lone Star and critical border operations at other state agencies, the governor’s office announced Friday.
“This funding will address immediate border security needs while future funding needed to protect Texans continues to be evaluated,” according to Gov. Greg Abbott’s office.
The vast majority of the funds—$465.3 million—will go toward supporting the deployment of the Texas Army National Guard, with the remaining some $30 million to be sent to other state agencies.
The state leadership said in a letter to state agencies (pdf) the approval of the funds will take effect immediately.
“Texas will not sit on the sidelines as President Biden continues turning a blind eye to the crisis at our southern border,” Abbott said in a statement, adding, “This additional funding ensures the Lone Star State is fully equipped to provide Texans the border security strategy they demand and deserve.”
Joan Huffman, chair of the Texas Senate Finance Committee, said the latest Texas funding is “necessary to continue the state’s efforts in supporting Operation Lone Star to combat criminal activity, human trafficking, and gang violence.”
“In the past year, over one million immigrants have illegally crossed our southern border,” she said. “Of those, there have been over 14,000 criminal arrests and thousands of pounds of illegal drugs seized.”
Operation Lone Star was launched in March 2021 to combat the smuggling of humans and contraband into Texas across the southern border. Abbott later expanded the operation to also deal with human trafficking.
“The Biden administration’s approach to our southern border is nothing short of irresponsible,” said Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan. “As the humanitarian and security costs of this crisis continue to escalate, Texas is once again put in the position of doing the job the federal government refuses to do.”
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), in a recently published report, estimated that the illegal immigrant population in the United States increased by one million in President Joe Biden’s first year in office.
“Massive numbers of illegal aliens are coming into the United States and they’re staying here,” Spencer Raley, research director at FAIR and author of the new report (pdf), told The Epoch Times.
After Biden’s first year in office, fewer Border Patrol agents are patrolling the border, construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall was halted, more drugs are being smuggled in, more high-speed chases and crashes are occurring in border towns, and fewer illegal aliens are being deported.
Zachary Stieber and Charlotte Cuthbertson contributed to this report.