AUSTIN, Texas — State troopers deployed to the Mexico border apprehended 370,000 immigrants who illegally entered the United States and would have otherwise disappeared into the interior.
Under Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R-TX) two-year-old Operation Lone Star initiative to boost police and military presence near the border, Texas Department of Public Safety officers and statewide partners have interdicted hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants across more than 100 counties since Spring 2021.
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“The Texas Department of Public Safety has helped to arrest more than 27,000 criminals, apprehend more than 370,000 people who came into our county illegally, and seize enough fentanyl that would be enough to kill every man, woman, and child in the entire United States of America,” Abbott said during a speech at a DPS graduation ceremony in Austin on Friday.
Abbott underscored the achievement during remarks to 60 of the newest DPS troopers, many of whom will head south to counties affected by the border crisis.
“The Texas Department of Public Safety is a legendary position in the history [of] the state of Texas, but in this moment in time, you all are playing a more pivotal role than ever before,” Abbott said.
Troopers were responsible for seizing enough fentanyl to contain potentially 383 million lethal doses, more than the U.S. population of 333 million people. Fentanyl seized by state troopers slipped past federal law enforcement at the ports of entry.
Last week in Austin, Abbott said troopers who were sent into the capital city over concerns about an increase in violent crime in some areas had seized 500,000 doses of fentanyl.
“Had they not seized that half a million doses … those drugs [would be on the] streets, costing people in Austin and Texas their lives,” Abbott said. “You’re literally saving lives.”
But not all Texans have backed the GOP governor’s multibillion-dollar investment at the border.
In late April, a coalition of grassroots conservatives rallied outside the Texas Capitol and called on Abbott to do even more, saying he had not gone far enough and ought legally to declare an “invasion” at the border.
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In March, those who opposed it traveled to Austin to rally against the statewide effort.
Members from the Border Network for Human Rights, La Union del Pueblo Entero, Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance, ARISE Adelante, and the American Civil Liberties Union called for the state legislature to provide driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants and an end to Operation Lone Star.
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