by Kaylee Greenlee
Texas law enforcement officials have made more than 8,520 criminal arrests of illegal migrants since Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott launched Operation Lone Star in March, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Wednesday.
Around 1,600 of the arrests were for criminal trespassing and about 6,800 felony charges were filed against illegal migrants from the time Abbott’s directive was issued through Oct. 28, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Press Secretary Ericka Miller told the DCNF.
“In addition, DPS has made more than 75,600 migrant apprehensions and referrals,” Miller told the DCNF.
Abbott launched Operation Lone Star on March 6 directing law enforcement officials to target human and narcotics smugglers who entered the U.S. illegally, according to a statement. The directive combined DPS and Texas National Guard security operations at the border.
“President Biden’s reckless open border policies have created a crisis along our southern border, with a 61-year record-high number of illegal immigrants surging into our state,” Abbott’s press secretary, Renae Eze, told the DCNF on Thursday. “Governor Abbott initiated a new policy of arrest and jail—instead of President Biden’s catch and release program—to stop this revolving door and deter others considering entering illegally.”
“Since the launch of Operation Lone Star in March, the National Guard and DPS have apprehended over 75,000 migrants and arrested over 8,500 who committed a state or federal crime, including smugglers and human traffickers, to crack down on illegal crossings of migrants coming from over 150 countries around the world,” Eze added.
Around 1,000 Texas law enforcement officials were assigned to the operation, according to Abbott. The governor awarded a $36.4 million grant to the program for local officials including jail personnel, court officials and medical assistance for the fiscal year 2022-2023.
Border officials encountered more than 1.7 million migrants from September 2020 through September, with a majority of apprehensions occurring in the Rio Grande Valley sector of southern Texas, according to Customs and Border Protection data.
The Texas Military Department declined to comment.
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Kaylee Greenlee is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.