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Governor Abbott's Operation Lone Star touts thousands of arrests, $10 billion cost

Operation Lone Star's latest numbers reveal thousand of arrests
Operation Lone Star's latest numbers reveal thousand of arrests 02:58

EAGLE PASS- Gov. Greg Abbott activated Operation Lone Star in March 2021. Nearly two years later, the operation remains active with an influx of migrants crossing the border. So far, the cost to the state is some $10 billion.

According to numbers obtained by CBS News Texas' Ken Molestina, 496,000 migrants have been detained for being in the country illegally. Thirty-eight thousand five hundred face criminal charges, Texas DPS said. The law enforcement agency did not say if the nearly 39,000 apprehensions were a part of the almost 500,000 DPS had stopped.

"We are here under the Governor's order in order to protect Texas," Sgt. Rene Cordova said.

Abbott launched the operation to close the border because he argues President Joe Biden has failed to secure it.

Cordova gave CBS News Texas access to their Shelby Park Eagle Pass operations.

Visible immediately were extra troopers, barriers, razor wire, and arrests getting made for the misdemeanor crime of criminal trespassing--an offense in Texas that could lead to fines that reach $2,000 and 180 up to days in jail.

"It's all along the border, but the main focal point is here in Eagle Pass," Cordova said. "We're getting high crossings from different parts of the world."

CBS News Texas witnessed a Guatemalan national named "Edwin" trying to cross the border unlawfully despite the barrier.

"We're just looking to surrender to ask for asylum," Edwin said.

Operation Lone Star has also seized 453 million doses of the lethal drug fentanyl, according to DPS.

CBS News Texas toured in the area where the state installed buoys in the Rio Grande River as a deterrent. The floating barriers have gone through a volley of decisions in court.

America Garcia with the Eagle Pass Border Coalition said the billion-dollar operation is a generator for political campaigns.

"People are coming at this, and they are saying---what can I get out of it? How can I improve my political ranking?" Garcia said. "How can I get campaign donations? And they are not saying what is good for everybody."

Garcia believes the same funding should get shifted to Texas schools and other projects.

"Roads all throughout Texas need attention," she said. "Our hospitals. Our infrastructure. Let's put the money towards that."

Meantime, Cordova has a different view of the operation's existence and impact.

"This is actually the back door into the United States, and it's not only affecting the communities here it's affecting communities in the interior of the United States," he said. "So, I don't see this going away anytime soon."

Abbott's program to bus migrants to Democrat-led sanctuary cities has so far transported more than 100,000 people.

New York received the most migrants from Texas.

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