The Department of Justice has launched an investigation into potential civil rights violations committed via Texas’ Operation Lone Star.
The operation was launched in 2021 by Governor Greg Abbott to help solve the crisis at the southern border, but has since faced a fair amount of criticism.
According to the Texas Tribune and ProPublica, the DOJ was unable to explicitly state whether the department was conducting an investigation.
Documents obtained by the news organizations via the state’s Public Information Act, however, confirmed that an investigation by the DOJ was, in fact, in progress.
“Abbott has repeatedly criticized President Joe Biden for what he calls “open border policies.” He even bused migrants this year to Washington, D.C., saying at a press conference that the action was taken so “the Biden administration will be able to more immediately address the needs of the people that they are allowing to come across our border,” Newsweek reported.
“A release from Abbott’s office said that the initiative integrates the Texas National Guard with the DPS ‘and deploys air, ground, marine, and tactical border security assets to high threat areas to deny Mexican Cartels and other smugglers the ability to move drugs and people into Texas,'” they continue.
Emails from within the Texas Department of Public Safety, one of the agencies involved in Operation Lone Star, revealed that the DOJ had already begun collecting documents.
“The Request for Information seeks documentation related to the development, implementation, and ongoing operational activities of Operation Lone Star with a particular emphasis on the criminal trespass arrests aspect of the initiative,” wrote DPS General Counsel Phillip Adkins.
“Essentially,” he added, “USDOJ seeks to review whether OLS has violated Title VI” of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Title VI bans institutions receiving federal funding from discriminating on the basis of race, color, or national origin.
According to the Tribune, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s deputy general counsel wrote to the state’s attorney general explaining that the DOJ wants to know whether the TDCJ is exposing those arrested via Operation Lone Star to “differential and unlawful conditions of confinement based on their perceived or actual race or national origin.”
The operation has consumed the bulk of Texas’ border budget, and is expected to utilize most of the $3 billion allocated for such spending over the next two years.
Over 10,000 National Guard and DOPS members have been deployed to the border as a result of the operation thus far.
Abbott’s office has said the arrests and prosecutions under Lone Star “are fully constitutional.”
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