EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar and 12 other Democrats are calling on U.S. investigators to look into Operation Lone Star, a border enforcement initiative started by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
The 13 Texas congressional Democrats authored a letter together to the United States Office of the Inspector General to look into the operation after a report by the Army Times and Texas Tribune that says National Guard members are living in poor working and living conditions.
The military news outlet also reports the members of the National Guard are experiencing delayed pay and reported suicide attempts by troops.
“Reports of poor living conditions, low morale, and suicides among our servicemembers deployed to Governor Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star demonstrate that he doesn’t have our troops’ best interest in mind,” Escobar tweeted. “That’s why I’m urging the Texas Military Department to investigate this political stunt.”
Abbott initiated Operation Lone Star last March, when he stated he was deploying thousands of Department of Public Safety officers and Texas National Guard troops to the southern border during a time where migrant crossings from Mexico began to rise.
Abbott budgeted nearly $75 million for the entire effort and another $22 million was added to that budget in December to fund state prosecution of border crossings.
NEWS: Reports of poor living conditions, low morale, and suicides among our servicemembers deployed to @GovAbbott’s Operation Lone Star demonstrate that he doesn’t have our troops’ best interest in mind.— Rep. Veronica Escobar (@RepEscobar) January 13, 2022
That’s why I’m urging the @TXMilitary to investigate this political stunt. pic.twitter.com/0VCT1ldlkW
In Washington, Escobar and Democrats from Texas authored a public letter to the U.S. Inspector General criticizing Abbott’s efforts. And, for the federal government to review Operation Lone Star.
“As such, we urge you to launch a full investigation into (the Texas Military Department’s) actions related to OLS and how this mission is impacting the well-being, morale, and overall readiness of our troops so Texans can have a full accounting of what is happening to these servicemembers,” the letter states.