Testifying for the Texas Senate Committee on Border Security today, newly inaugurated Adjutant General Thomas Suelzer told State Sens. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), Chuy Hinojosa (D-McAllen), and Bob Hall (R-Edgewood) that at the current operational pace, funding for Operation Lone Star (OLS) will run out by May 1.
OLS—Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security initiative—-has faced numerous problems since its inception, including pay issues, reports of lack of equipment, questionable living conditions, and serious morale concerns.
Suelzer took the helm weeks ago, succeeding previous Adjutant General Tracy Norris, whose leadership was widely criticized for contributing to the ongoing issues with OLS.
According to Suelzer, to maintain the current operational pace until the end of the state’s fiscal year, OLS needs an additional $531 million in funding.
Texans for Fiscal Responsibility recently tracked some of the border security appropriations. They found more than $3 billion earmarked for border security operations through 2023, with OLS receiving $500 million specifically for additional personnel. Further analysis found that taxpayers spend $2.5 million on OLS every week.
Border security is quickly becoming an issue for states to resolve. Arizona’s attorney general released a legal opinion announcing that upon federal dereliction of duty to protect the U.S. from invasion, each state possesses the right to protect its border. The Texas House Committee on General Investigating requested that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton report his legal findings on the issue, as well.
As the Biden administration prepares to suspend Title 42, a public health provision that allows for expedited deportations, an estimated 18,000 people are expected to surge across the southern border per day.
Sen. Hinojosa said during the committee meeting today, “I really don’t understand the number of having to use 10,000 National Guard troops to have border security. You can do the job with a lot less.”
However, with an expected summer surge and the Biden administration amplifying the border crisis, it appears likely that addressing illegal border crossings in the near future will be up to Texans alone.