The legislation includes $20.2 billion for US border security and a myriad of immigration policy changes agreed to by Democratic and Republican negotiators
Gov. Greg Abbot launched Operation Lone Star program in March 2021

Texas has seen a 74% drop in illegal border crossings since the implementation of Gov. Greg Abbot's controversial Operation Lone Star program in March 2021, said DPS Colonel Steve McCraw before the state Senate Committee on Border Security.

The head of the Texas Department of Public Safety added that border crossings in Texas in places like Eagle Pass have decreased under, but the results come at a high cost given the high expenses on personnel and equipment.

To date, Operation Lone Star has cost taxpayers $11 billion, he said, as cited by Fox4 News. Most of that money has been spent on thousands of DPS officials and Texas National Guard troops located at the southern border.

McCrow said the Texas National Guard began a drone program in January 2023 aimed at reducing the need for large troop deployments to the border and future operational costs. He added that there are now 32 teams, including 74 pilots, patrolling the southern border.

"So instead of having troops along this whole border, maybe it's just a smaller group of troops," said Major General Thomas Suelzer. "But the drones and cameras are watching and alerting in time so that group of troops can respond."

Immigrant advocacy groups have raised concerns about the policy. One of the criticisms is that Abbott's operation is "racially profiling" Latino migrants at the border forcing them into a separate and unequal legal system" run by the state, according to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The program was launched in March 2021 by Gov. Abbott to "detect and repel illegal crossings, arrest human smugglers and cartel gang members, and stop the flow of deadly drugs like fentanyl into our nation."

Joe Biden
The Biden administration will close the border when encounters reach a certain threshold. AFP

Arrest rates for trespassing were significantly higher for Latinos, according to the document. More than 96% of arrests for alleged trespassing were Latinos, and among trespassing arrests, Latinos received 98.1% of charges that were enhanced for occurring in a "Disaster Area," the report shows.

The organization also highlighted that while the program was aimed to stop migrants from allegedly bringing drugs and crime into Texas, it has "primarily arrested people accused of low-level offenses like trespassing rather than drug-related offenses, human smuggling, or weapon charges." Nearly 70% of court appearances were for misdemeanor charges.

Experts have cast doubt on the reasons behind this reported decrease in illegal immigration at Texas border.

Last week, the Biden administration decided to issue a controversial executive order aimed at stemming the flow of migrants entering the country, stating that once arrivals at the U.S. southern border reach an average of 2,500 per day over a seven-day period, officials will bar migrants from claiming asylum and deport them to Mexico or their home countries.

According to FOX 4, since then, twenty deportation flights have left for seven countries and two thousand migrants have been able to go through expedited processing, up from 900 per day.

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