On Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced an expansion in the Operation Lone Star mission objectives to include cracking down on human trafficking-related to illegal border crossings.

Abbott indicated that the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) as well as the Texas Rangers would be charged with conducting interviews of unaccompanied minors who crossed the border to help gain information that might aid in the arrest of traffickers.

Operation Lone Star was launched earlier this month in an effort to help secure the border and prevent increased human and drug trafficking in Texas.

This comes amidst a ramp-up of efforts by the state to address an exponential increase in migrants from South America. Abbott said, “President Biden’s reckless open border policies have created a humanitarian crisis that is enriching the cartels, smugglers, and human traffickers who often prey on and abuse unaccompanied minors.”

As a part of this announcement, Abbott requested that the Biden administration allow DPS to access the unaccompanied minor holding facility in Dallas as well as other federally-run facilities in the state so that they can conduct interviews.

Notably, there is no official charge or emergency priority given by the Governor to the state legislature thus far in the 87th legislative session to address this issue or appropriate additional funding though he did make mention of it briefly during his state of the state address in early February.

Currently, there are 1,000 DPS personnel, agents, and rangers involved in Operation Lone Star. This newly expanded mission would be supported by the governor’s Child Sex Trafficking Team and other agencies and organizations that work on combatting human trafficking across the state.

Jeramy Kitchen

Jeramy Kitchen serves as the Capitol Correspondent for Texas Scorecard as well as host of 'This Week in Texas', a show previewing the week ahead in Texas politics. After managing campaigns for conservative legislators across the state, serving as Chief of Staff for multiple conservative state legislators, and serving as Legislative Director for the largest public policy think tank in Texas, Jeramy moved outside of the Austin bubble to focus on bringing transparency to the legislative process.