Texas beefs up border crackdown to stop human and drug smuggling

Texas beefs up border crackdown to stop human and drug smuggling

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, along with the Department of Public Safety (DPS), on Saturday launched ‘Operation Lone Star,’ a program that will work to combat the smuggling of drugs and people across the southern border. 

The program will send law enforcement personnel and resources to “high threat areas” along the border “to deny Mexican Cartels and other smugglers the ability to move drugs and people into Texas.” 

“The crisis at our southern border continues to escalate because of Biden Administration policies that refuse to secure the border and invite illegal immigration,” Abbott said in a statement. “Texas supports legal immigration but will not be an accomplice to the open border policies that cause, rather than prevent, a humanitarian crisis in our state and endanger the lives of Texans.”

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The Texas National Guard and DPS will work together on the new program. 

Abbott’s announcement comes days after a skirmish between the Texas Republican governor and President Biden over the border. “The Biden administration must stop importing COVID into our country,” Abbott told CNBC on Thursday. Over 100 illegal immigrants released into the U.S. tested positive for Covid-19 this week. 

“That is a Neanderthal-type approach to dealing with the COVID situation,” Abott said, using words the president had a day before used against him. Biden called Abbott’s decision to remove the state’s mask mandates “Neanderthal thinking.” 

Meanwhile, the Biden administration is facing a dramatic surge in unaccompanied children at the border, a sign of how resources have been overwhelmed within just a few months of the new administration. 

Axios reports that in the week ending March 1, the Border Patrol referred an average of 321 minors per day to Health and Human Services (HHS). It’s a dramatic increase from 47 at the beginning of January and an average of 203 in early February, the outlet reported.

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Department of Health and Human Services officials project that 117,000 children will arrive at the border unaccompanied this year. 

Biden’s administration has wound down the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), ended construction of the border wall, and restarted catch-and-release – by which migrants are released into the U.S. interior. That practice was ended by the Trump administration in 2019. 

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It has kept in place Title 42 protections – which allow for migrants to be turned around quickly due to the coronavirus pandemic – but it has so far not sought to apply them to unaccompanied children.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report. 

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