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Abbott Blusters to Distract from Operation Lone Star's Failures

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said this week that he wanted to bus undocumented immigrants from Texas to Washington, D.C., to show his opposition to Biden administration immigration policies, the Texas Tribune reports. Abbott's critics say that the comment was mostly bluster to distract from the fact that his much-publicized and expensive border security plan, Operation Lone Star, has not been very successful. Initially, Abbott's bombast included a comment that as many as 900 buses would be used to transport thousands of migrants to Washington. That was walked back by Abbott's staff, who insisted that only “volunteers” who had been processed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would be sent to Washington. Still, the comments had much the intended effect: to give Abbott publicity and place him squarely at odds with President Biden.

Within hours, Abbott's campaign for reelection began fundraising on the back of the comments. His campaign website included an appeal that read, “Governor Greg Abbott JUST ANNOUNCED that Texas is going to use charter buses to DROP OFF BIDEN’S ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS in Washington, DC. We want to MAKE SURE that Biden knows JUST HOW REAL this crisis is.” Meanwhile, Texas has spent over $3 billion on Operation Lone Star and needs another $531 million to keep it running past May. Critics say that these funds have not seemed to affect the number of illegal crossings. Abbott has only grown more creative in his approaches to border security efforts since the Biden administration announced that it would end Title 42, the public health measure that allows immigration officials to turn people away at the border. The proposal to bus migrants to the U.S. Capitol, a plan to stop and inspect commercial vehicles coming into Texas, and a plan to put boat blockades and concertina wire at some cross points on the Rio Grande are all responses to ending Title 42.


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