A group of Texas lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have put their names on a bill to force the U.S. government to reimburse Texas for the costs of recent border integrity measures.
On March 1, Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) introduced the Lone Star Reimbursement Act, which would require the federal government to pay Texas for its efforts to secure the southern border.
In 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott launched Operation Lone Star, which was designed “to secure the border and stop cartels and criminals from smuggling deadly drugs, weapons, and people into Texas.” By September 2022, the state had spent more than $4 billion on the program.
Fallon’s bill notes that, since the start of the initiative, Operation Lone Star has led to 348,000 apprehensions of unlawful migrants and over 22,000 felony charges. Additionally, the program has seized more than 361 million deadly amounts of fentanyl — enough to kill the entire population of the United States.
To offset the costs associated with Operation Lone Star, Fallon’s bill would stipulate, “Of amounts appropriated or otherwise made available to the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2024, $2,200,000,000 from each such Department shall be expended in the form of reimbursements to the State of Texas.”
Fallon explained the reasoning for the bill on Twitter, writing, “In the FY ’22 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress first recognized that border security is a matter of national security.”
“Unfortunately, Texas has been forced by this administration to go it alone when it comes to securing our border,” he tweeted, pointing to Gov. Abbott’s Operation Lone Star.
“This plan has been a critical tool in stemming the tide, but we can’t do it by ourselves,” the North Texas congressman continued. “Because border security is an issue that impacts the entire country, the federal government should reimburse the state of Texas for all costs of Operation Lone Star.”
Seven other members of the Texas delegation have signed onto Fallon’s bill as co-authors, including Reps. Keith Self (R-TX), Ronny Jackson (R-TX), Wesley Hunt (R-TX), Randy Weber (R-TX), Jake Ellzey (R-TX), Lance Gooden (R-TX), and August Pfluger (R-TX).
In the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, Fallon’s bill has been sent to the Armed Services, Homeland Security, and Judiciary committees.
During the 117th Congress in 2022, Fallon introduced a substantially similar piece of legislation under the same name. It was referred to the Armed Services and Judiciary Committees, with the latter relegating it to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, where it died.
At the time, Gov. Abbott expressed support for this legislation and thanked Rep. Fallon for introducing the bill.
Fallon’s bill comes as Texas continues to struggle with historic levels of unlawful migration and large amounts of illicit materials being smuggled across the southern border.
State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) recently filed a sweeping slate of border security measures that would enhance penalties for unlawful migration, create a new felony offense for the production or distribution of fentanyl that results in death, declare that Texas has been invaded, and designate drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations.
Sen. Kolkhorst said in a press release, “I am taking action because Texas must send a strong message that crime committed by unauthorized immigrants and drug traffickers will not stand. Where the federal government is avoiding its responsibility, Texas will fulfill its constitutional duty to protect our citizens, property, and border.”
Not all Texans have agreed with the state’s approach to increasing border security, however, and recent protests in Austin have called for the end of Operation Lone Star.
Betty Camargo, an organizer for Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance, claimed during a rally on March 6, “This is important for all Texans because we have a governor that takes money away from services that are needed like health care, education, housing, and puts that money into unnecessary operations like Operation Lone Start,” according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Meanwhile, Keep Dallas Safe’s Jake Colglazier argued to The Dallas Express, “Border security is national security. Police at the border recently seized enough fentanyl to kill every single American. Texans bear the brunt of the violence, and we are doing the most to stop it. It’s time for the federal government to do its job.”
This administration is a disaster. Impeach Biden and Mayorkas. The bank sell-off on Monday will be something to watch. If you have investments in the financial system I hope you got out Friday.