Texas authorities have made nearly 10,000 arrests of migrants who illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border as part of a new operation aimed at deterring illegal immigration. Following the success of these arrests, Texas has passed a new law that will expand the authority to make arrests and give local judges the power to order the migrants out of the country. This law will go into effect in March.
The smaller-scale operation was first launched in July 2021 as border crossings reached 1.2 million that fiscal year. It allows border landowners to enter agreements with the state, authorizing trespassing arrests. This clears the way for law enforcement to apprehend migrants who enter the U.S. through those properties.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott had predicted that the trespassing arrests would produce swift results, stating that people would stop coming across the Texas border once they learned about it. However, border crossings have continued, with over 1.5 million crossings in the past fiscal year.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has spearheaded the trespassing arrests, resulting in over 37,000 total criminal arrests. Among those arrested are gang members, human traffickers, sex offenders, and others. The state of Texas aims to send a message to those considering crossing into the country illegally to think again.
These trespassing arrests have been a key part of Governor Abbott's nearly $10 billion border mission known as Operation Lone Star. The operation has tested the federal government's authority over immigration. In addition, Abbott has sent an estimated 80,000 migrants on buses to Democrat-led cities, including New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has acknowledged a new migrant caravan and has pledged to step up efforts to contain immigration. The arrests in Texas have faced legal challenges, including claims of due process violations. Civil rights organizations have sued to stop the new law from taking effect, arguing that it is an unconstitutional overreach that encroaches on the federal government's immigration authority.