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Activists want National Guard and DPS out of El Paso

BNHR Calls on City and County to Pass Resolution Against Operation Lone Star and Calls on Biden to Sue Texas Over Alleged Immigration Coercion

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Migrant advocacy groups want the Texas National Guard out of El Paso, and they are also calling on local officials to pass a resolution against Gov. Greg Abbott’s use of taxpayer money to fund Operation Lone Star. .

At a press conference on Wednesday, groups led by the Frontier Network for Human Rights (BNHR) accused Abbott of deploying Texas Department of Public Safety soldiers to the region not to protect border communities, as he says, but to use migrants as political supports.

“What Gov. Abbott is doing to enforce immigration laws in Texas is unconstitutional and illegal,” said Fernando Garcia, chief executive of BNHR. “Gov. Abbott spent about $8 billion on this illegal, racist and anti-immigrant program in Texas. (Operation) Lone Star and Governor Abbott have made Texas the epicenter of the anti-immigrant, anti-refugee and racist agenda in the country.”

Garcia and leaders of groups such as Texas Rising and Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance are demanding that the city and county of El Paso sponsor and approve a resolution against Operation Lone Star. The groups also plan to launch a statewide awareness campaign denouncing the increase in state law enforcement on the border and will ask the Biden administration to sue Texas for allegedly “usurping federal power by enforcing immigration laws.”

Abbott launched Operation Lone Star in March 2021 in response to an increase in illegal immigration that will eventually reach historic levels along the Texas-Mexico border. DPS soldiers and Texas National Guard troops were deployed to the 48 counties in Texas covered by the state’s disaster declaration. Their instructions are to prevent criminal activity at the border, including trespassing, smuggling and human trafficking.

During his inaugural address Tuesday, Abbott said the Biden administration is “missing” and that Texas is using every tool to protect the state.

“Make no mistake, the border is a crisis for one simple reason. The Biden administration is not enforcing laws that already exist. As a result, more illegal immigrants crossed our border last year than ever before,” Abbott said. “In fact, more illegal immigrants have crossed the border in the past two years than the populations of Austin, El Paso, and Houston combined.”

Abbott has touted the state’s border security efforts, which also include building a state-funded wall and fighting Mexican drug cartels that smuggle people, guns and drugs into our state.

National Guard troops arrived in El Paso last month and camped on the American banks of the Rio Grande. Their military vehicles, a mile-long temporary fence with barbed wire in places, and a shipping container barrier along the breach in the border wall can still be seen west of the Paso del Norte port of entry.

Former Texas Rep. Jose Rodriguez said the state’s increased law enforcement is aimed at intimidating migrants and those providing them with humanitarian aid.

“(Abbott) does not uphold the rule of law with respect to migrant asylum seekers. Asylum is part of the law. No matter how the migrants got here, presented themselves at the border, if they ask for asylum, our laws say that we must provide them with due process,” Rodriguez said. “I’m distressed, disappointed, outraged, outraged that (Abbott) continues to militarize the border.”

The Border Report on Wednesday asked government officials for comment and is awaiting a response.

Texans for Abbott this week tweeted the results of Operation Lone Star over the past two years, as reported by the Governor’s Office. These include 23,000 arrests, 356 million doses of fentanyl seized, and 16,600 migrant parolees busted to so-called sanctuary cities in the US.

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