Abbott’s appalling border policies


Illustration by Azael Alejandro Gomez

Texas has spent $4 billion on border initiatives in the past two years, including $40 million to bus migrants out state.

Azael A. Gomez, Managing Editor

Governor Greg Abbott’s approach to dealing with the immigration crisis drew mixed reactions. Some praise him for his low tolerance towards immigrants, but others do not agree with his treatment of immigrants. Changes are needed to Abbott’s approach.

Before the Biden administration took office it was reported by Pew Research that there were about 400,000 illegal immigrants entering through the southern border, but in 2021 the number rose to 1.7 million and continued to increase. Abbott launched Operation Lone Star March 2021 in response to the amount of immigrants crossing the border and what he termed as the increase in drug smuggling. 

“The stated purpose of the operation is to “prevent, detect, and interdict transnational criminal activity between the ports of entry,” according to Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw. The law enforcement operation has been instructed to use “available resources to enforce all applicable federal and state laws to prevent criminal activity along the border,” reported Julienna Berg in “Texas Response to the Crisis Border” on, Aug 10, 2022.

This was one of the first of many actions that Abbott made. On Sept 17, he signed House Bill 9 into law to provide additional funding for border security, such as barbed wires for fences and Operation Lone Star. Abbott also provided $100 million to local governments to increase border security. Abbott continues to spend federal money on border security and on transporting immigrants back to their country or to Washington D.C. and New York City, reported by the Texas Tribune.

“Over 18 months, he has taken unprecedented measures to curb illegal immigration — arresting and jailing migrants on state criminal charges; spending millions on bus tickets to send them to other cities; and for a few days, nearly shutting down international trade with Mexico, despite those efforts, the number of migrants officials encounter at the Texas-Mexico border is higher today than it was before Operation Lone Star began,” reported James Barragan in  “Migrant encounters at the border,”  in, Sept 28, 2022.

Abbott’s use of federal money is not solving the problem. Operation Lone Star claimed to have apprehended 13,000 criminals and thousands of drugs, but the claim is based on a constantly shifting metric system that included crimes that didn’t not have any involvement with the border. After a review of about 2,000 chargers, the Department of Security did not see any that involved border crimes, as reported in “Gov. Greg Abbott brags about his border initiative,” by Lomi Kriel and Perla Trevizo, on, Mar. 21, 2022. “The state faces several lawsuits and calls for investigation from Democrats, lawyers and advocacy groups following media reports detailing alleged civil rights violations and court rulings raising questions about the constitutionality of the trespassing arrests,” reported in “Texas has spent billions of dollars on border security,” by Lomi Kriel and Perla Trevizo, on, April 18, 2022.

While held, immigrants aren’t treated with basic rights. Billions of dollars are being spent on improving border security, forming task forces, and transporting immigrants when it could be used to support them by providing shelter and food for immigrants.