EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Advocacy organizations are pushing back against Operation Lone Star by holding protests in four Texas border cities this Saturday.

The groups say Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security initiative – which he initiated in response to a surge in illegal immigration – is fostering xenophobia and discrimination against people of color and escalating violence.

The so-called “Day of Action to condemn Op Lone Star” is taking place at 10 a.m. on the corner of Father Rahm Avenue and El Paso Street in El Paso; at 10 a.m. on Saint Francis Plaza in Presidio; at 9 a.m. at Southern Pacific Linear Park in Brownsville; and at 10 a.m. at Plaza de la Ciudad in Pharr.

“Gov. Abbott’s Operation Lone Star and his recent order to arrest and return migrants to the U.S.-Mexico border completely disregard human rights, separate families and violate asylum seekers’ right to protection,” said the Border Network for Human Rights, one of the organizers. “These policies criminalize and incarcerate immigrants, pushing them to undertake dangerous routes to access the country which, in many cases, lead to death.”

The Texas Department of Public Safety says Operation Lone Star has helped border agents apprehend more than 274,000 unauthorized migrants and led to the arrest of 16,900 people and the filing of 14,200 felony charges. Operation Lone Star also has netted 5,700 illegal guns and $43 million in illicit currency.

“Operation Lone Star continues to fill the dangerous gaps left by the Biden Administration’s refusal to secure the border. Every individual who is apprehended or arrested and every ounce of drugs seized would have otherwise made their way into communities across Texas and the nation,” DPS said in a recent news release.

Other groups taking part in the protests include Frontera Texas, Arise Adelante, Proyecto Libertad, Movimiento del Valle, Border Workers United and La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE).