- The Washington Times
Monday, August 8, 2022

The American Civil Liberties Union is ramping up its battle against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security push, filing a new complaint Monday with Homeland Security urging the department to limit how Border Patrol agents are able to work with Texas authorities.

Mr. Abbott last month ordered Texas’ Department of Public Safety and the National Guard to begin arresting and transporting illegal immigrants back to the border area, where they are reportedly being turned over to the Border Patrol. The ACLU says that violates the migrants’ civil rights.

“DHS should reject any involvement with DPS’s immigration enforcement efforts in South Texas including with Governor Abbott’s July 7 executive order to ensure that it has no entanglement whatsoever with the agency’s discriminatory actions,” the ACLU said in its filing.

The complaint follows another one filed late last month with the federal Justice Department. That one accused Mr. Abbott’s border security push, known officially as Operation Lone Star, of racially profiling illegal immigrants when it decides whom to stop.

The ACLU also said the stops are increasingly dangerous. The group said it has linked 30 traffic deaths to DPS vehicle pursuits in south Texas since the start of Operation Lone Star.

The ACLU called it “a startlingly high number.”

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In that July complaint, the ACLU asked the Justice Department to open a civil rights investigation into DPS.

The Washington Times has reached out to Texas for a response to the complaints.

The ACLU’s pushback against Mr. Abbott comes as his Operation Lone Star is garnering more attention.

Last week, Mr. Abbott announced he has expanded his busing operation beyond the original Texas-to-D.C. route, and is now also shipping migrants directly to New York City.

He took the step after New York Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, complained his city was being overwhelmed by the arrival of a few thousand illegal immigrants in its homeless shelters — but rebuffed an invitation from the Republican governor to visit the border and get a first-hand look at where things are going wrong.

Mr. Abbott says New York and Washington, whose mayor is also complaining about the migrants, are now getting only a small taste of what Texas has been facing since President Biden took office.

Mr. Abbott says Operation Lone Star is a necessary response to abandonment of border security by the Biden administration.

Texas is building border walls on its own to fill in gaps after Mr. Biden halted construction at the federal level. And Mr. Abbott has deployed state police and the National Guard to make arrests, and local prosecutors are bringing state smuggling charges against those driving the migrants deeper into the U.S.

The ACLU says state police are abusing the new mission by racially profiling Hispanic drivers in making traffic stops.

The Biden administration is caught in the crossfire between Texas and the two East Coast cities, whose complaints about the arrival of the migrants have put the White House in a tricky position.

Mr. Biden’s press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, said there may be emergency money available to help New York and Washington handle the arrival of the migrants, but she blasted Mr. Abbott for busing migrants in the first place.

“There’s a legal process here and he’s not using that legal process,” she said. “He’s using politics for his own benefit and sending these migrants who are here — desperately here — putting them on buses and sending them to cities because of what he feels is politically right for him.”

All of the migrants have volunteered to get on the buses, according to Texas, which suggests that they were likely headed to the East Coast with or without Texas’ help.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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