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House GOP bill would reimburse Texas for operation to crack down on illegal immigration

FIRST ON FOX: A bill introduced by House Republicans on Friday would reimburse the state of Texas for the costs of its Operation Lone Star — the state’s effort to crack down on illegal immigration amid a historic border crisis.

The Lone Star Reimbursement Act, introduced by Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas, would reimburse the state for the operation announced by Gov. Greg Abbott last year and which has surged law enforcement to the Texas-Mexico border to stop the flood of illegal immigration coming across.

TEXAS’ OPERATION LONE STAR TO GET ANOTHER $500 MILLION TO SECURE BORDER, ABBOTT SAYS 

The bill cites estimates that the Texas Military has so far apprehended and referred over 134,000 illegal immigrants to law enforcement, and has turned back or denied crossing to over 16,000 migrants.

“It is the sense of Congress that Operation Lone Star has been a tremendous help to stem the tide of illegal immigration and its members should be recognized for their efforts,” the bill says. 

The bill would make $1.4 billion available to Texas for its FY 2021 and FY 2022 costs. The lawmakers supporting the bill say that because the job of securing the border is that of the federal government, states that take that responsibility should be reimbursed by the federal government.

“To put it simply, border security is national security,” Fallon said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “As a border state, Texas is disproportionally impacted by illegal immigration, but we shouldn’t be forced to bear the entire financial burden when it comes to securing the entire country. Gov. Abbott launched Operation Lone Star because of a lack of action from this administration. Texas shouldn’t be punished for Biden’s mistake and my Lone Star Reimbursement Act recognizes this.”

MIGRANT ENCOUNTERS AT SOUTHERN BORDER HIT NEW RECORD IN MAY, AS NUMBERS KEEP RISING 

Co-sponsors on the bill are Texas Reps. Kay Granger, Roger Williams, Jake Ellzey, Ronny Jackson, Randy Weber, Michael Cloud, Brian Babin, Michael Burgess, Troy Nehls, and Louie Gohmert.

“Our southern border is no longer just about families coming to find a better life. The Biden administration has intentionally failed in its responsibility to protect the American people, and Texans have paid the price, both figuratively and literally.” Ellzey said in a statement. “Over the two years, Texans have spent over $3 billion dollars to secure our border. Per the Constitution, that is a federal function, and we owe Texans every penny they have paid. I am proud to stand with my fellow colleagues in filling the Lone Star Reimbursement Act. If the President won’t do his job, Congress will.”

It is the latest move by Republicans in the delegation to reimburse the state for the operation. Burgess has previously offered amendments to various appropriations bills in the House to fund the program — arguing that “Texas should not be bearing the sole cost to secure our southern border.”

Meanwhile, numbers have been increasing at the southern border. There were more than 239,000 migrant apprehensions in May, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced this week. That is the highest number on record, and higher than the 180,597 encountered in May 2021 and the 23,237 encountered in May 2020. It is also higher than the 235,478 encountered in April 2022, which itself set a new record for encounters.

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