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Texas builds coalition to defend border

Texas now has a coalition of twenty-four States to help it defend the Rio Grande from illegal aliens and fentanyl smugglers.

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott welcomes nine governors to hear from Texas officials about the border situation.

Texas, the State with the longest border with Mexico, is building an interstate coalition to defend that border. Now the governors of nine of its members have met with the Texas governor to form a plan.

The Texas coalition

Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) met yesterday with nine other State governors to discuss his border defense plan, Operation Lone Star. That program now has the clear object of deterring people from crossing the border and creating legal and administrative problems. Already Govs. Brad Little (R-Idaho) and Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) have sent troops from their respective National Guards to Texas. In all, this informal coalition has twenty-five members: Texas and twenty-four others who have pledged their assistance. The coalition formed after the official end of the COVID-19 national emergency, and with it the Title 42 instant-deportation measures.

Operation Lone Star has three missions: stop illegal border crossings, stop fentanyl smuggling, and stop Mexican drug cartels from operating in Texas.

The nine governors who took part in yesterday’s briefing, were Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R-Ark.), Brad Little, Kim Reynolds (R-Iowa), Tate Reeves (R-Miss.), Jim Pillen (R-Neb.), Kevin Stitt (R-Okla.), Henry McMaster (R-S.C.), Bill Lee (R-Tenn.), and Glenn Youngkin (R-Va.). Five of those States (Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia) form a contiguous geographical region with Texas. The other four do not.

Gov. Abbott had several Texas officials take part in the briefing:

  • Maj. Gen. Thomas Suelzer, Adjutant General and head of the Texas Military Department,
  • Steve McCraw, Director, Texas Department of Public Safety, and
  • Mike Banks, officer in charge of the border (“border czar”).

History of Operation Lone Star

Gov. Abbott has talked about strengthening Texas’ own defenses for almost two years. He began with a plan for Texas to build its own border wall. (President Biden stopped construction of the federal wall, ordering contractors to down tools and go home. As a result that wall is full of holes, which contractors were not allowed to close.) He also explicitly warned that Texas law-enforcement agents would arrest illegal aliens on their own authority, for trespassing. Then a rumor broke that mounted Border Patrol agents were driving illegal aliens before them with whips. That turned out to be baseless.

Nevertheless, SecHomeSec Alejandro Mayorkas threatened “an investigation” of the officers involved. After that, Abbott pledged to hire away any Border Patrolmen who got fired over those rumors.

But Operation Lone Star was fraught with problems. The Wall Street Journal accused him of “bungling” the Texas National Guard deployment. One National Guardsman drowned trying to save illegal migrants from drowning in the Rio Grande.

The busing program

More recently Abbott started busing migrants to Democrat-run cities, including New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. (Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida did the same.) New York Mayor Eric Adams threatened to help Abbott’s general election opponent. (Abbott won anyway.) Vice-President Harris accused Abbott of “dereliction of duty,” but didn’t say exactly where his duty lay. Outraged, Contributor Bradlee Dean thumped Abbott and DeSantis for “importing aliens.” Dean seemed to suggest (by accusing them of “importing … not deporting”) that any State governor should unilaterally transport illegal border crosses back to the country from which they came. Persons claiming knowledge of the law have advised CNAV such action would make every LEO involved liable for federal prosecution.

By some estimates, in the first four months of 2023 as many people have crossed illegally into Texas as the populations of six States.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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