Texas sees 74% decrease in illegal border crossings since Operation Lone Star, DPS says

The real hotspots for illegal border crossings now appear to be in Arizona and California.

The head of Texas DPS says border encounters in Texas in places like Eagle Pass have declined under Operation Lone Star. But it comes at a high cost to maintain personnel and equipment.

Texas has seen an overall 74% decrease in illegal crossings since Operation Lone Star was implemented in March of 2021.


Operation Lone Star faces new scrutiny after trooper's claim of 'inhumane' orders at the border

There continues to be backlash following claims DPS troopers were allegedly told to push migrants back into the Rio Grande.

That's according to Texas DPS Colonel Steve McCraw, who testified before the state senate committee on border security Tuesday.

To date, Operation Lone Star has cost taxpayers $11 billion. The bulk of that money was spent on thousands of DPS troopers and Texas National Guard soldiers stationed at the southern border.

Texas National Guard started a drone program in January 2023. There are now 32 teams, including 74 pilots patrolling the southern border. That could reduce the future cost of the operation.

EAGLE PASS, TEXAS - DECEMBER 20: Immigrants wait to be processed at a U.S. Border Patrol transit center after they crossed the border from Mexico on December 20, 2023 in Eagle Pass, Texas. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

"So instead of having troops along this whole border, maybe it's just a smaller group of troops," said Major General Thomas Suelzer. "But the drones and cameras are watching and alerting in time so that group of troops can respond."

Immigration policy expert Laura Collins says it's hard to say what exactly is contributing to the drastic decrease in crossing at the Texas Mexico border pushing the migration west.

"Migration is complex," she said. "The people who are arriving at the border have their own reasons for going to California. Texas, obviously, a lot of them pay smugglers."


7 suspects arrested, 12 migrants hospitalized after Texas human smuggling sting

Seven suspected smugglers are now in custody. The sheriff there says this was cartel related and had harsh words for the smugglers involved in moving people like a product.

Last week, President Joe Biden signed an executive order aimed at deterring border crossings by restricting asylum.

A senior administration official told FOX 4 that since then, thousands of immigrants have been returned to Mexico. Twenty repatriation flights have happened to seven countries. Two thousand migrants are able to go through expediated processing now. It used to be 900 per day.

"A lot of policy experts, myself included, are waiting to see how it's implemented," Collins said. "But again, you know, one executive order is not going to fundamentally change the full dynamics at the border."

Then there's cooperation from the Mexican government. Mexico just elected a new president. It's too soon to tell what her relationship with be like with the U.S. and whoever is president come November 5.