Skip to main content
    23, August 2023
    Media Briefing by Immigrant Rights' Advocates Highlights Costly and Detrimental Effects of Operation Lone Star 2.0

Media Briefing by Immigrant Rights' Advocates Highlights Costly and Detrimental Effects of Operation Lone Star 2.0

August 23, 2023 
Press Contact: 
LatinoJustice PRLDEF - [email protected] 
ILRC- [email protected]  

Media Briefing by Immigrant Rights' Advocates Highlights Costly and Detrimental Effects of Operation Lone Star 2.0  
Increased Budget for Operation Lone Star Harmful for Texas Border Community  

AUSTIN, TX – Immigrant rights' advocates, civil rights organizations, and Texas border residents impacted by Governor Abbott’s border policies held a media briefing on Wednesday to better inform the media and the community about the ongoing harm of Operation Lone Star (OLS) and how the new Texas state budget will continue to misspend state resources on the embattled program through 2025. Speakers also highlighted how OLS has “coopted and misappropriated” the state’s criminal-legal system. 
The media briefing took place on the heels of a hearing in federal court in Austin addressing the deadly “border buoys” in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass. The federal government has sued the state of Texas after the state refused to remove the buoys.  

During the event experts from the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, Every Texan, ACLU Texas, Solidarity Solutions LLC, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Human Rights Watch, LatinoJustice PRLDEF also assessed other anti-immigrant bills passed by the Texas legislature that will go into effect starting on September 1, 2023.   
Back in December of 2021 Texas and national legal groups jointly filed a Title VI discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice documenting Operation Lone Star’s the extensive discrimination and civil rights violations. On February 23, 2022, groups submitted a supplemental Title VI discrimination complaint urging the U.S. Department of Justice to take immediate action in light of the program’s expansion. 

Below are quotes from immigrant rights' advocates and civil rights organizations around today’s briefing:  
"Operation Lone Star should concern anyone who wants to preserve civil rights and humane immigration policies," said Carolina Canizales, Texas Senior Strategist at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. "Gov. Abbott has unilaterally created his own border enforcement policies, which have cost billions of taxpayers’ money, and has caused the loss of life for migrants, border residents and even law enforcement officers. This costly and deadly operation must end.”  
“Governor Abbott, with the support of the Legislature, has wasted $10 billion dollars diverting resources from critical state services to Operation Lone Star, said Jaime Puente, Director of Economic Opportunity, Every Texan. While desperate people continue to seek hope and opportunity in the United States, our state spends billions criminalizing that hope, and Texans – black, brown and white – suffer from a lack of investment in education and healthcare. If Texans know one thing about Governor Abbott’s spending on Operation Lone Star, it should be this: the governor will waste billions to support his anti-immigrant narrative – no matter the result – while shortchanging. Texans deserve effective state leadership, not Operation Lone Star’s waste. It’s time for Governor Abbott to stop diverting critical funding for the education and healthcare systems we deserve. Texas should stop spending alone, and work with federal partners toward real solutions.” 
“For over two years Operation Lone Star has resulted in the abuse of our communities at the border and beyond,” said Priscilla Lugo, Justice Advocate Coordinator at LatinoJustice PRLDEF. “Just recently we have seen the atrocities Operation Lone Star is has caused like the discovery of the bodies stuck in the buoys on the Rio Grande and the death of a three-year-old girl on an Operation Lone Star bus chartered by the state of Texas to Chicago. We will continue working to end this inhumane program and its policies abusing the civil and human rights of not only migrant individuals but also of Texas border residents.” 
Other remarks from speakers can be found in the links below: 
Kristin Etter, Attorney & Special Project Director, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid  
Jaime Puente, Director of Economic Opportunity, Every Texan  
Lauren Johnson, Policy and Advocacy Strategist, ACLU of Texas  
Robie Flores, Eagle Pass Resident & Filmmaker  
Jasmine Tyler, Professor, Georgetown University and Founder of Solidarity and Solutions LLC. 

Operation Lone Star is a multi-million-dollar state border scheme initiative put in place by Texas Governor Greg Abbott that has cost nearly $10 billion since it began in March 2021. According to data released by the Texas Civil Rights Project, traffic stops have increased 300% for counties who are actively participating in Operation Lone Star. In addition, Latino counties near the border saw an increase from 438 troopers working in 2019 – 2020 to 845 in 2021. 


About LatinoJustice 
LatinoJustice PRLDEF works to create a more just society by using and challenging the rule of law to secure transformative, equitable and accessible justice, by empowering our community and by fostering leadership through advocacy and education. For 50 years, LatinoJustice PRLDEF has acted as an advocate against injustices throughout the country. To learn more about LatinoJustice, visit