Fact check: Texas’ ‘Operation Lone Star’ isn’t finishing border wall construction
The claim: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s ‘Operation Lone Star’ will finish construction on Trump’s border wall
One of Joe Biden’s first acts as president was to end construction of a wall former President Donald Trump promised on the 2,000-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico. But, no, Texas hasn’t picked up the baton to finish it.
The idea that Texas would build the wall instead of the federal government spread on social media soon after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott launched what he called “Operation Lone Star” to address problems on the border.
A post proclaiming “Texas has launched ‘Operation Lone Star’ to finish the Border Wall themselves. I love Texas” was shared widely across Facebook.
But Abbott’s office told USA TODAY that the plan does not include any border wall construction, and none of the announcements from the Republican governor mention the wall that Trump promised during his 2016 campaign.
A Facebook user who shared the post did not respond to a request for comment.
Border wall construction stopped
One of the first documents Biden signed after his presidential inauguration on Jan. 20 was a proclamation that stopped construction of the border wall.
Biden terminated the declaration of a February 2019 national emergency Trump used to fund it and ordered construction to stop, according to the proclamation on file with the Federal Register.
“Like every nation, the United States has a right and a duty to secure its borders and protect its people against threats. But building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border is not a serious policy solution,” the proclamation reads. “It is a waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security.”
During his 2016 campaign, Trump said the wall would be about 1,000 miles, with natural barriers covering the other half of the border, though he “began to move the goal posts” to smaller distances after he was elected, according to PolitiFact.
Fact check: A valid passport is required to cross U.S.-Mexico border in most cases
Before Biden’s proclamation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, still operating under Trump’s administration, said about 450 miles of the wall already had been completed, The Arizona Republic reported.
But most of the new wall “replaces barriers that had been put in place by previous administrations,” Reuters reported, “with only 80 miles of primary and secondary barrier in areas where there were previously no structures.”
By the end of 2020, the Trump administration had spent about $16 billion on the wall, none of it paid for by Mexico as Trump promised, according to The Arizona Republic.
A Border Patrol unit drives by the construction site of a new section of the border wall between the US city of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico on August 17, 2020. (Photo: HERIKA MARTINEZ, AFP via Getty Images)
So is Texas going to finish it?
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection map shows that hundreds of miles of border wall are under contract but not completed.
On March 6, Abbot launched what he called “Operation Lone Star” to slow the flow of migrants and drugs into Texas, according to a press release, blaming Biden administration policies for creating a “humanitarian crisis.”
Under that plan, the Texas Department of Public Safety would work with the Texas National Guard. The operation “deploys 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.”
Abbott expanded the operation on March 17 to include a crackdown on human trafficking.
None of those announcements mentioned the border wall.
“It does not include wall construction,” said Madi Biedermann, a spokeswoman for Abbott’s office, in an email to USA TODAY.
A Texas lawmaker introduced legislation for the state to pay for border wall construction, but the state Legislature has not voted on the bill. That bill is unrelated to “Operation Lone Star.”
March 21, 2021: A migrant child looks through the U.S.-Mexico border wall as a group is processed and taken into custody while trying to sneak across the border in Abram-Perezville, Texas. (Photo: Julio Cortez, AP)
Our rating: False
The claim that Texas is going to finish former President Donald Trump’s border wall through “Operation Lone Star” is FALSE, based on our research. A Texas lawmaker has introduced legislation to pay for border wall construction, but it is unrelated to “Operation Lone Star” and has not received a vote in the Texas Legislature. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office confirmed that the operation does not include wall construction.
Our fact-check sources:
- Federal Register, Jan. 20, “Termination of Emergency With Respect to the Southern Border of the United States and Redirection of Funds Diverted to Border Wall Construction”
- FactCheck.org, Dec. 22, 2020, “Trump’s Border Wall: Where Does It Stand?”
- The Arizona Republic, Jan. 12, “Here’s where US-Mexico border wall construction stands as Trump wraps up presidency”
- Reuters, Jan. 12, “Explainer: Why is Trump visiting the border wall in the last days of his presidency?”
- U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, accessed March 24, “Map of border wall construction”
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, March 6, “Press release: Governor Abbott, DPS launch “Operation Lone Star” to address crisis at southern border”
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, March 17, “Press release: Governor Abbott announces expansion of Operation Lone Star to include anti-human trafficking efforts”
- Texas Legislature, accessed March 24, House Bill 2862
Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.
Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.
Source: Read Full Article