Politics

Dozens of soldiers deployed under Abbott’s border scheme were sent to ranches owned by rich Texans

The Texas Tribune reports that nearly three dozen soldiers were earlier this year stationed outside properties belonging to wealthy Texans, including the Armstrong Ranch, “the property of a longtime Republican family that has hosted GOP leaders like Karl Rove, former Gov. Rick Perry, and former Vice President Dick Cheney.”

This is where Cheney infamously shot a lawyer in the face while hunting. But the lawyer, Harry Whittington, is the one who ended up having to apologize instead. Another ranch that’s gotten taxpayer-funded security belongs to Kenedy County Judge Charles Burns, a Democrat. Burns’ support for the Operation Lone Star scheme was touted in a press release from Abbott’s office just this week. “I think their presence has been very beneficial to the county,” Burns said. More like, very beneficial to your ranch.

Anyway, Abbott and the scheme’s defenders might claim that these placements were strategic. “But service members with firsthand knowledge of the mission told The Texas Tribune that troops rarely saw migrants from their posts nearly 80 miles away from the border,” the report said.

While the report noted that soldiers said they wouldn’t be able to go through the private property even if they did spot someone, let the record state that officers have forced migrants onto private property in order to arrest them as part of the Operation Lone Star scheme. “Texas prosecutor drops charges after migrants claim they were marched to private property, then arrested for trespassing,” The Texas Tribune reported last October.

Soldiers, who asked to be kept anonymous for fear of retaliation, said they were sent to these properties even though some already had private security. “We really don’t understand why we are there,” one soldier said in the report. “We’re essentially mall security for ranches that already have paid security details to protect them.” The placements occurred in early January but are no longer happening, after the news outlet began to press officials for information. Funny how that always happens.

There’s no question that Operation Lone Star has been a disaster, for both vulnerable asylum-seekers and soldiers deployed to the scheme. But Abbott has tried to scapegoat others for his actions, recently replacing the chief executive officer of the Texas Military Department. But remember, this is his scheme. “You can switch Generals, but we all know where the buck stops,” Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke recently told Army Times and The Texas Tribune, adding that Abbott took thousands of guard members “from their families, jobs, and communities.”

RELATED: Hundreds jailed under Abbott’s ‘unconstitutional’ border scheme have received little to no legal aid

RELATED: Abbott tries to weasel his way out of his Operation Lone Star mess by scapegoating department leader




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