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Gov. Abbott’s Operation Lone Star ruled unconstitutional amid allegations of a 'crisis of morale' among soldiers on the border

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks to the media about security on the Mexico-U.S. border after a briefing with Texas National Guard troops in Weslaco
LOREN ELLIOTT/REUTERS
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Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks to the media about security on the Mexico-U.S. border after a briefing with Texas National Guard troops at Sergeant Tomas Garces Texas Army National Guard Armory in Weslaco, Texas, U.S., April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

On Jan. 13, a Travis County judge ruled that Gov. Abbott’s state-run border enforcement operation violates the U.S. Constitution.

Abbott launched Operation Lone Star in March 2021 and issued a disaster declaration “to combat the ongoing influx of unlawful immigrants.” Ten thousand National Guard members were deployed and stationed along Texas’ southern border to enforce the state-run crackdown.

Under Operation Lone Star, the Department of Public Safety can utilize 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.”

The charges thrown out for unconstitutionality had been filed against a man who was arrested in September under the initiative for criminal trespassing.

In an opinion piece for the Military Times, Democratic State Rep. Alex Dominguez and his co-author – a former U.S. Army sergeant from Texas – called Operation Lone Star “a mission with indefinite, involuntary activations” and one “whose purpose is unclear and whose activities are ineffective.”

Texas has seen a string of suicides from soldiers serving on its southern border during Operation Lone Star, prompting Dominguez’ to call for Abbott to “address this crisis of morale” and enact a moratorium on additional troop deployments.

Critics say the operation is a political stunt and have called for an investigation of resources, while those who support the plan say Governor Abbott is doing everything in his power to secure the border.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton vowed to appeal the Travis County judge’s decision, calling it “ridiculous.” In his tweet, Paxton blamed Biden and said Texas had the right to step in “to defend our border if the feds refuse.”

What does Gov. Abbott hope to accomplish with Operation Lone Star? Is this a political move or a viable border security solution? How are those living near the border affected?

What is to blame for the “crisis of morale” among soldiers serving at the Texas-Mexico border? Will Abbott take action to address it?

Does Operation Lone Star violate the U.S. Constitution? What happens next in the legal battle over these state-run enforcement measures?

Guests: 

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Thursday, January 20.

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