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The Justice Department is investigating the Texas Border Mission

Austin, Texas – The US Department of Justice is investigating possible civil rights violations in Texas’ multi-billion dollar border security mission that has given the National Guard arrest powers and seen state authorities busing migrants into Washington, DC, according to public records.

A lawyer for the state police agency confirmed in a May email the state investigation into Gov. Greg Abbott’s initiative to restrict the entry of people from Mexico ProPublica and The Texas Tribune Show. The state prison system also cited in a letter a “formal investigation” that attempted to withhold public records related to Operation Lone Star.

The investigation comes to light as a human smuggling attempt 53 people died in a muggy semi-trailer shows the limits of state and federal border control. Transitions along the entire southern border are at or near their highest point in about two decades.

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Last year, Abbott, a Republican seeking re-election, introduced massive law enforcement apparatus on the border and alleged inaction by President Joe Biden’s administration. The surge in officers has led to arrests — including for trespassing, small amounts of marijuana, and other petty crimes seemingly unrelated to border security. Some of those detained spent weeks in state prisons.

The emails from Texas Department of Public Safety officials indicate that federal authorities are investigating whether the operation may have violated a statute against discrimination based on race, color or national origin by organizations that receive federal funding.

A spokesman for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division declined to comment. A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety did not respond to a request for comment

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According to spokeswoman Amanda Hernandez, the Texas Department of Justice released information about Operation Lone Star to Justice Department officials after they requested it in March. She said the state prison system “has and continues to comply with all state and federal laws as the state of Texas responds to the ongoing crisis at the border.”

Since April, Abbott has also offered migrants bus rides to Washington, DC and says he’s taking the immigration issue to the doorstep of Congress. So far, about 3,000 migrants have made the trip, which has cost more than $5 million.

Efforts have not stemmed a recent surge in border crossings at the southern border. Authorities blocked migrants from crossing illegally 523,000 times between January and May, up from 417,000 in the same period a year ago.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/national/2022/07/06/report-justice-department-probing-texas-border-mission/ The Justice Department is investigating the Texas Border Mission

Sarah Y. Kim

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