HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — For nearly two years, Operation Lone Star has been in place in South Texas as Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature campaign to curtail illegal immigration in Texas.
A number of non-profit groups want the program to end.
Arise Adelante and La Union del Pueblo Entero, also known as LUPE, say the program intimidates people in the Rio Grande Valley.
“In the Valley we have a lot of mixed communities, mixed status communities and it’s a lot of fear,” said Ramona Casas, ARISE Adelante Coordinator.
Operation Lone Star is a program that partners the Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety. Troopers and guardsmen help enforce federal and state laws meant to stop illegal immigration along the Texas-Mexico border.
“Many other parks here in the area, they are full from officers from the Operation Lone Star and many of the families do not feel secure to go to the parks and be around the areas because there’s a lot a lot officers everywhere,” Casas said.
Governor Abbott launched Operation Lone Star in March 2021. He allows the Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities to detain people arrested under Operation Lone Star.
LUPE leaders say is a waste of public resources.
“We know, it’s an operation that targets our communities here in South Texas, all alongside the Texas border,” said Joaquin Garcia, LUPE Director of Organization.
Both organizations recently returned from the capitol where they testified against the program.
“Our fight continues, because we are advocates of our communities and we deserve so much more than what the governor is giving us, and giving the community right now,” Garcia said.
The group is asking State Senator Juan Hinojosa to help end the program when the legislature meets again in January, but that is highly unlikely.
The state has spent billions of dollars on the program, the governor was re-elected earlier this month and it’s a program he does not plan to end anytime soon.