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Increased presence of DPS troopers seen in Valley as Operation Lone Star underway

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Nearly a week after Gov. Greg Abbott officially announced Operation Lone Star in order to provide more border security, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers have been visible along Expressway 83 in the area between Penitas and Roma, and even on unpaved roads near the Rio Grande.

Lt. Christopher Olivarez with Texas DPS says the number of people they've encountered crossing the border illegally has gone up.

READ ALSO: Southwest border facing biggest migrant surge in 20 years, Homeland Security Secretary weighs in  

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told ABC’s Good Morning America they are trying to rebuild the immigration system while providing adequate shelter to thousands of migrant children.

Meanwhile in Texas, in just two weeks, state police have come in contact with at least 3,000 migrants who are then turned over to Border Patrol.

There have been 17 vehicle pursuits— something that could be dangerous for drivers, Olivarez said.

On Tuesday, eight migrants died after a crash involving a human smuggler outside of Del Rio, which is nearly 150 miles west of San Antonio.

RELATED: 8 immigrants killed when pickup crashes in Texas border city  

DPS says the purpose of its presence along the border is to show human and drug smugglers they are not welcome in Texas.

Some have criticized the added state trooper presence, but Olivarez wants to make sure people know the purpose of Operation Lone Star. According to Abbott and the DPS director, the operation is to go after criminals and provide security to residents along the border.

“Our troopers are not out there to target the community for traffic violations," Olivarez said.

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