Discover more from LoneStarLeft’s Newsletter
Operation Lone Star Needs To Be Audited
Billions of taxpayer dollars have been thrown at the border, immigration is at an all time high, where did all of that money go?
Over the last week, the Texas House and the Texas Senate held hearings regarding giving Greg Abbott another $1.5 billion for “border security.” Some startling revelations came up during these hearings. If you’re interested in watching either one, here are the links:
Here’s what we learned:
Billions of dollars have been given to Greg Abbott’s office without accounting or transparency.
Texas taxpayers have already footed a $10 billion bill for border security.
Only 12 miles of border wall has been built.
Abbott spent $125 million on bussing asylum seekers out of Texas.
We’ve given out construction contracts, but no one knows what has already been done.
Who is building the border wall?
A 2022 article from the Texas Tribune reported: The Texas Facilities Commission voted to approve a $167 million contract for New Mexico-based Southwest Valley Constructors Co. to build nearly 6.7 miles of border wall near Del Rio and a second contract worth $140 million to Montana-based BFBC of Texas, which plans to build 6.95 miles of wall in the Rio Grande Valley.
They also said that 1.7 miles had been built at the time of the article by Posillico Civil, Inc., which won a $162 million state contract. The commission purchased $43.3 million worth of bollard panels — enough to erect 12.8 miles of barriers — from a Texas company, Gibraltar Fabrications.
Southwest Valley Constructors Co.
This company is a subsidiary of Kiewit Corp, a Fortune 500 organization that spends an average of $200,000 to $400,000 on Republicans each election cycle. They also have paid lobbyists in Texas. They built part of Trump’s border wall and have constructed a border wall in Arizona.
BFBC of Texas.
BFBC is an affiliate of the Barnard Construction Company. Federal election data shows Barnard company employees and related individuals have donated thousands to Donald Trump and Senator John Cornyn.
Posillico Civil Inc.
First and foremost, Poscillico Civil and the Kiewit Corp are partners and have had multiple joint ventures.
The owner of this company does have a history of donating to Republicans. Still, more importantly, Gibraltar Fabrications CEO Bill Neusch has been in a ton of trouble recently for building an illegal dam in Mason County, which was interfering with Austin’s water supply. Neusch attempted to dam the South Llano River and James River on their ranch properties, respectively, to the detriment of the Hill Country environment and all who live, work, and play there.
Fisher Sand & Gravel.
This company made national news in 2020 after Trump awarded them a $2 billion contract to build his wall. The company’s history is filled with environmental and labor violations, on top of having been fined $1.16 million in a 2009 tax fraud case. The 2020 contract stemmed from Fisher Sand & Gravel’s ties with We Build the Wall, a crowdfunded scheme by the military veteran Brian Kolfage and Steve Bannon. Kolfage and another man were sentenced to prison for the We Build A Wall scheme. Fisher Sand & Gravel has spent hundreds of thousands lobbying in Texas over the last several years.
This company has been donating to Republican candidates and causes for several years. Their donations in 2018 were linked to the 2019 contract Trump gave them for his wall. This company is led by brothers John, Billy, and Todd Sullivan. They donated to Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, and Dade Phelan. But look how much each of them gave Abbott.
Republican donors and friends are building the wall.
This really shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been paying attention to Texas politics in the last few years. Republicans are corrupt, and Abbott is the king of corruption.
From the Texas Observer: Abbott appointees on the Facilities Commission unanimously approved a series of amendments adding more money and mileage to contracts awarded to the firms building the first 44 miles of the wall, bringing the total maximum amount of those contracts to $1.28 billion, per agency records. That’s nearly $300 million more than the almost $1 billion lawmakers appropriated for the first phase of wall construction back in 2021.
So, let’s do some math. The $10 billion lawmakers discussed doesn’t include the $1.5 billion they proposed this week. That’s a total of $11.5 billion.
There is no plan or strategy for spending this money.
During the Senate Committee yesterday, Governor Abbott’s senior advisor was testifying on his behalf. She was asked twice by two different Senators what Abbott’s long-term plan or strategy was to bolster border security. She hemmed and hawed, mentioned the wall and the razor wire, but couldn’t explain what Abbott planned to do next year or five years from now about how this $10 billion will make our borders more secure.
There is no plan. $10 billion, and Abbott is making reactionary moves with no strategy. Check it out:
Where has the rest of the money gone?
The U.S. News reported this month that Texas taxpayers have already spent $9 billion, but it doesn’t account for where it went. The legislature appropriated another $5.1 billion to border security earlier this year.
Abbott issued a press release in 2022 stating that funds went to:
Deploying thousands of National Guard soldiers and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers.
Arresting and jailing undocumented migrants trespassing.
Bussing migrants out of Texas.
Interestingly, Abbott’s senior advisor said that they’ve spent $125 million on bussing migrants to other states. I looked it up. A Greyhound ticket from Del Rio to Washington, DC, is $303.
That’s enough bus tickets for 412,000 refugees. However, Axios reported this month that Abbott has bussed out less than 52,000 migrants. That’s a cost of about $2,500 per head.
Maybe he’s chartering buses. If a charter bus can hold 50 people, that’s 1040 buses for $120,000 per bus. According to USA Coach, a 50-person bus from Dallas to Houston costs $1,765. Even if the cost from Del Rio to Washington DC were triple that, it still wouldn’t justify the $125 million that Abbott has spent.
Listen to Abbott’s advisor try to explain where the money has gone:
The entire situation is convoluted.
In the hearings this last week, legislators continuously asked representatives from the Governor’s office and other government officials for details about where the money is going and what it is being spent on. Never did they get a straight answer.
The San Antonio Express-News estimated that Operation Lone Star cost taxpayers about $400,000 per arrest.
We’re spending about $100 million monthly on having the Texas National Guard on the border ($1.2 billion annually).
There is nowhere to find a complete accounting of Operation Lone Star, what has been spent, and where the money has gone. Considering that the wall contracts have been granted to Republican donors and friends, it isn’t a stretch to conclude that dozens more have their hands in the cookie jar. The legislature intentionally appropriated this money without transparency mechanisms in place.
$11.5 billion is a lot of money.
In comparison, it would cost roughly $3 billion to give every Texas school child universal free lunches.
Operation Lone Star should be audited and then defunded.
It’s a waste of money. It’s causing human rights disasters. And it hasn’t impacted the federal government or mass migration. Texas taxpayers shouldn’t be spending their money on this.
Remember all of this when it’s time to vote.
LoneStarLeft’s Newsletter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.