Texas governor Greg Abbott and Democratic rival Beto O’Rourke go head-to-head in their first debate on Friday at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. 

Both O’ Rourke and Abbott agreed that no more money “should” go toward Operation Lone Star.

“Because it should be the Biden Administration footing the bill and fixing the problem, not Texas,” governor Abbott said. 

“Because Operation Lone Star is a failure,” his democratic opponent added. 

What is Operation Lone Star?

Launched by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in March 2021, Operation Lone Star is a border security initiative in response to rising border crossings. 

Abbott, in May 2021, issued a disaster declaration covering 53 counties. He assumed the authority to deploy the Texas National Guard to the border. Operation Lone Star is run by Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Military Department.

It costed taxpayers $2.5 million every week, according to an analysis by The Texas Tribune, ProPublica and The Marshall Project published in March 2022.

The bill was passed in the Texas Legislature in September 2021. The state then dedicated almost $2 billion to border security over the next two years. The total security budget was pushed to $3 billion. 

The bill included $750 million to build a state-funded border wall, Private donors had contributed more than $55 million for the wall as of February 11, 2022.

Texas Democrats have criticized Abbott, saying he is spending billions on short-term, law-enforcement-based solutions and not a  more comprehensive approach.