Gov. Greg Abbott spoke to more than 200 U.S. Border Patrol agents and their families in Houston on Saturday, thanking them for their ongoing efforts to secure the border and ensure the safety of all Texans.
Abbott underscored Texas’ support for agents during a National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) Dinner in Houston over the weekend and also discussed his administration’s efforts under Operation Lone Star (OLS).
The NBPC represents 18,000 Border Patrol agents, according to a press release from the governor.
“America’s Border Patrol agents are the unsung heroes of our country, putting your lives on the line each and every day to secure our border and uphold our nation’s sovereignty,” Abbott said during his address.
“Instead of defending you, Washington leaves you all undermanned and underpaid. I am here tonight to say thank you, let you know that Texas appreciates all you do to keep our country safe — and that you have a governor who has your backs,” Abbott claimed.
Operation Lone Star began in March 2021 as a multi-agency effort to “stop the smuggling of drugs, weapons, and people into Texas; and prevent, detect, and interdict transnational criminal behavior between ports of entry.”
As of February 24, TOLS had apprehended more than 351,000 illegal immigrants, seized over 365 million lethal doses of fentanyl, and issued over 25,000 criminal arrests, with more than 22,000 felony charges reported, according to the press release.
Under the OLS disaster declaration, the Department of Public Safety was directed to “use available resources to enforce all applicable federal and state laws to prevent the criminal activity along the border, including criminal trespassing, smuggling, and human trafficking, and to assist Texas counties in their efforts to address those criminal activities.”
Not everyone is happy with Operation Lone Star, however. In an article published in February, Alicia Torres of Grassroots Leadership criticized the program as it approached its second anniversary.
“Wednesday will mark the second year that Operation Lone Star has been in practice, and the second year we have heard how not millions — but billions — were being spent to build out the incarceration machine in Texas,” said Torres, as reported by Spectrum News 1. “This is not the budget we want. We’re asking lawmakers to be brave and just say no to Operation Lone Star.”
On Saturday, Abbott also presented a proclamation to NBPC President Brandon Judd, naming him an honorary Texan in recognition of his service to the U.S. Border Patrol.