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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke March 23, 2021

No, Texas isn’t finishing the border wall with Operation Lone Star

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  • Texas launched Operation Lone Star to combat the smuggling of people and drugs. It was later expanded to also address human trafficking related to illegal border crossings. 
 

President Joe Biden suspended construction on new barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border when he took office, leaving the fate of contracts to build nearly 300 miles of barrier unclear. 

According to a recent Facebook post, Texas is stepping up to finish the project on its own. 

"Texas has launched ‘Operation Lone Star’ to finish the border wall themselves," the post says. "I love Texas." 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of Public Safety did recently launch an initiative called "Operation Lone Star," the Austin American-Statesman reported on March 6. But it’s aimed at combating the smuggling of people and drugs into Texas — not building a border wall.  

In a statement, the governor’s office said the operation would tap DPS and the Texas National Guard to deploy "air, ground, marine, and tactical border security assets to high threat areas to deny Mexican Cartels and other smugglers the ability to move drugs and people into Texas." 

There’s no mention of the border wall. A subsequent statement the governor’s office issued on March 17 also doesn’t discuss the wall. Instead, the office announced that Operation Lone Star would be expanded to include "efforts to crack down on human trafficking related to illegal border crossings." 

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A spokesperson for DPS told PolitiFact that "finishing construction of the southern border wall is not a part of Operation Lone Star’s mission."

Since 2017, the federal government has constructed about 455 miles of barriers along the nearly 2,000-mile southern border, including in the U.S. Border Patrol’s El Paso and Rio Grande Valley sectors, with about 209 more miles under construction. Most of that was to replace existing structures that were outdated or in disrepair.

Under former President Donald Trump, the feds finished about 20 of more than 100 miles of planned border barriers in the Rio Grande Valley, according to the Texas Observer. Planned construction on more than 120 miles of barrier northeast of there hasn’t begun.

The project has fallen far short of Trump’s promise to build a wall across the border, and get Mexico to pay for it.

In 2018, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick floated the idea of Texas building a border wall with reimbursement from the federal government. Political scientist Mark Jones said such a scheme "would be challenged in court almost immediately," including by property owners on the Texas border whose land would be seized.

Now, a Texas state representative has filed a bill to direct DPS to finish the border wall using state funds and name the finished product after Trump. It was referred to the House Committee on State Affairs on March 18.

But that’s not connected to Operation Lone Star.

We rate this post False.

Our Sources

Facebook post, March 21, 2021

NPR, Biden suspends border wall construction for two months, Jan. 31, 2021

Business Insider, The Biden administration missed its own deadline for working out what to do with Trump’s half-finished border wall, March 22, 2021

The Texan, Texas lawmaker introduces bill to finish Trump’s border wall using state funds, March 4, 2021

H.B. 2862, filed March 4, 2021

Office of the Texas Governor, Governor Abbott, DPS launch ‘Operation Lone Star’ to address crisis at southern border, March 6, 2021

Office of the Texas Governor, Governor Abbott announces expansion of Operation Lone Star to include anti-human trafficking efforts, March 17, 2021

Austin American-Statesman, State authorities launch ‘Operation Lone Star’ to combat smuggling people, drugs into Texas, March 6, 2021

The New York Times, Trump’s incomplete border wall is in pieces that could linger for decades, March 16, 2021

Texas Observer, ‘Not celebrating yet’: South Texans wait for Biden to cancel Trump’s wall, March 10, 2021

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Border wall status, Jan. 15, 2021

Email interview with Ericka Miller, press secretary, Texas Department of Public Safety, March 23, 2021 

 

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No, Texas isn’t finishing the border wall with Operation Lone Star

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