House Republicans renew push to reimburse Texas for ‘Operation Lone Star’ border security push
FIRST ON FOX: Republicans in the House are renewing a push to reimburse Texas for Operation Lone Star — a state operation launched in response to the ongoing crisis at the southern border – arguing that the GOP-led state has been forced to “go it alone” with securing the border.
The Lone Star Reimbursement Act was introduced in the House on Wednesday by Texas Reps. Pat Fallon, Ronny Jackson, Wesley Hunt, Randy Weber, Jake Ellzey, Keith Self and Lance Gooden.
The bill, first introduced last year, would appropriate $4.4 billion from the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security for FY 2024 for the state of Texas “for the costs of Operation Lone Star” incurred in the prior two fiscal years.
The operation surged resources and law enforcement to the border amid the enormous spike in migrant encounters which took place in 2021. Numbers have remained at historic highs since then. The operation included continuing wall construction and busing migrants to “sanctuary cities” within the U.S.
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The legislation cites statistics that show the operation led to over 348,0000 illegal immigrant apprehensions and more than 24,000 criminal arrests — as well as the seizure of 361 million lethal doses of fentanyl, which is primarily smuggled across the U.S. border from Mexico.
Both Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the House lawmakers have accused the Biden administration of leaving Texas to fend for itself by failing to sufficiently act to deal with the crisis at the border.
“In the FY ’22 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress first recognized that border security is a matter of national security,” Fallon said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Texas has been forced by this administration to go it alone when it comes to securing our border. Operation Lone Star has been a critical tool in stemming the tide of illegal immigration, but we cannot do it by ourselves.”
“Because border security is an issue that impacts the entire country, the federal government should reimburse the state of Texas for all costs of Operation Lone Star and finally work with us to secure the border,” he said.
The move comes as Republicans in the House have zeroed in on the crisis at the border since taking control of the House in January. In January, a number of lawmakers wrote to President Biden directly, urging him to not only reimburse Texas but also to meet with the Texas delegation to discuss the crisis. The White House shot back by accusing Republicans of failing to vote against federal border funding.
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Republicans have linked the ongoing crisis to the policies of the administration — specifically, the rollback of Trump-era policies they say were successful. The Biden administration, meanwhile, has pointed to some of its own measures introduced this year which it says are having results.
It has also taken aim at Republicans for failing to support a comprehensive immigration bill that President Biden proposed on Day One of his presidency — which Republicans have rejected due to its inclusion of a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants — and for failing to vote for additional funding requested by the administration.
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Biden himself touted the recent moves by his administration at his State of the Union address last month — including the arrest of 8,000 smugglers and the seizure of 23,000 lbs of fentanyl, as well as a short-term decrease in illegal border crossings — but said that “America’s border problems won’t be fixed until Congress acts.”
“If we don’t pass my comprehensive immigration reform, at least pass my plan to provide the equipment and officers to secure the border. And a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, those on temporary status, farm workers, essential workers,” he said.
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