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Valley residents concerned 'Operation Lone Star' may lead to increase in traffic stops, citations

2 months 1 week 19 hours ago Wednesday, March 10 2021 Mar 10, 2021 March 10, 2021 7:30 PM March 10, 2021 in News - Local

Gov. Greg Abbott's 'Operation Lone Star' launched on Saturday in an effort to combat Mexican cartel members and human smugglers from moving drugs and people into the state.

But in 2014, a similar policy, Operation Strong Safety, led to an increase in traffic stops and citations throughout the Valley. Now, some Valley residents are concerned the increase in manpower will be a repeat of mass ticketing seen in 2014.

READ ALSO: No evidence migrants at border significantly spreading virus

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said that won't be the case this time around. 

"Some of the issues you heard about several years ago will be non-existent," McCraw said. "If there's any complaint whatsoever, please contact us."

In a press conference on Tuesday, Abbott said Operation Lone Star is the state's way of filling the gap for the federal government. 

READ ALSO: Congressman Vicente Gonzalez reacts to Abbott's visit to Rio Grande Valley

"We know we know what is coming behind all the people who are crossing the border today," Abbott said. "And that is the caravans."

Abbott's redesigned plan requires troopers and national guardsmen to watch and assist only Border Patrol agents, using highly visible technology.

"Tactical boats, a special operations group and we leverage technology," McCraw said. "Helicopters... Fixed aircrafts."

According to lawmakers, troopers and National Guard soldiers do not have the authority to enforce immigration law. 

READ ALSO: Gov. Abbott cites immigration policy changes as reason for surge in border crossings

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) said it's up to the federal government to address the situation.

"The state is not in the business of immigration control," Cuellar said. "That's not right."

New data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows a dramatic increase in encounters with undocumented adults, family units and unaccompanied children compared to last year. 

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