Texas border security efforts, including Operation Lone Star, received a significant boost on April 29 with the transfer of $495.3 million in funding. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Dade Phelan, Senate Finance Committee Chair Joan Huffman, and House Appropriations Committee Chair Dr. Greg Bonnen approved the additional funds.

According to a statement released by the Office of the Texas Governor, $465.3 million will be used to fund the deployment of the Texas National Guard to the border.

The Dallas Morning News reported that the money came from general-purpose state revenue that was freed up when the State used federal coronavirus relief money to cover the salaries of state workers. In turn, the unused state dollars were transferred to fund the border security effort.

In the statement, Abbott maintained that the Texans’ safety and security are his government’s top priority.

“We will continue fighting to keep our communities safe. This additional funding ensures the Lone Star State is fully equipped to provide Texans the border security strategy they demand and deserve,” Abbott said.

Abbott also took a swipe at President Joe Biden by accusing him of turning a blind eye to the crisis at the southern border.

“[The Biden administration’s] failure to secure the southern border means that Texas must use our tax dollars to step into the breach,” Abbott added.

Operation Lone Star, which has seen 10,000 service members deployed to the border, has proven expensive to maintain after the Texas Legislature budgeted $412 million to run the operation over a two-year period.

According to The Texas Tribune, the cost of the operation has risen to over $2 billion a year.

The report stated Texas Military Department leaders told the State Senate Border Security Committee in early April that the operation needed more than $500 million in state funds.

Dr. Greg Bonnen, House Appropriations Committee Chair, said the crisis at the southern border calls for “unprecedented action by the Legislature.”

“This funding will provide agencies participating in Operation Lone Star with the necessary resources to successfully continue the state’s commitment to fighting the flow of migrants entering into Texas illegally,” Bonnen said.

Some have criticized the state’s spending on border security, citing other areas where the money could be used.

Texas House Representative Armando Walle, District 140, tweeted a list of endeavors he felt constituted a better use of the funding, including improving Texas’ foster care, education, and healthcare systems.

The Fort Worth Report points out that Operation Lone Star, launched in March 2021, appears to have done little to stem the tide of unlawful migrants at the southern border thus far.

CBP data shows a 278% increase in migrant encounters from fiscal year 2020 to fiscal year 2021, and the count has been higher every month in 2022 compared to 2021.