McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — A day after it was revealed that the Justice Department is investigating Operation Lone Star, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday announced that an additional $30 million is going toward the controversial Texas border security initiative.
Abbott said his Public Safety Office is sending $30 million in additional grant funding for Texas cities and counties to enhance border security operations. This includes money to help stop the cross-border trafficking of drugs and humans, as well as stopping migrants from crossing the Rio Grande illegally into Texas.
The state also is building its own state-funded border wall in rural Starr County.
“While the Biden Administration has abandoned border communities, the State of Texas will support them and help them respond to the disaster that President Biden has caused on the border,” Abbott said in a statement. “Operation Lone Star grant funding has played an integral role in our mission to keep Texans safe and support local communities. I encourage local governments to apply for these funds as we work together to prevent illegal immigration and the smuggling of people, illegal weapons, and deadly drugs like fentanyl from Mexico into Texas.”
On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Democrat from the West Texas border town of El Paso, confirmed that the Department of Justice is investigating Operation Lone Star. This came out after reports that the DOJ was looking into possible civil rights violations associated with the 16-month-old border security initiative.
The investigation was first reported by the Texas Tribune and ProPublica after a lengthy investigation into emails and memos from various state agencies regarding Operation Lone Star unveiled the Justice Department probe.
A Justice Department official told Border Report that the agency cannot confirm ongoing investigations.
Over 10,000 National Guard troops and troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety have been surged to border regions as part of Operation Lone Star. Miles of concertina wire and giant shipping containers have been placed on the banks of the Rio Grande to deter migrants from illegally crossing the international river.
Abbott on Friday announced DPS strike teams would be positioned in the Rio Grande and new vehicle inspection checkpoints would begin targeting 18-wheelers, following the deaths of 53 migrants inside a big rig in triple-digit temperatures in San Antonio last month.
About $4 billion state funds have gone toward the initiative, so far.
On Thursday Abbott announced $14 million in additional funds for “border-adjacent counties” will be available beginning Sept. 1.
He also announced that $16 million will be available for “any county or city” that wants to apply starting July 11.
The Operation Lone Star Grant Program began in September 2021 with an initial $100 million available for cities and counties that feel a need for funds to boost border security. So far, $58 million has been awarded, Abbott’s office said in a statement.