‘Operation Lone Star’
Have you heard about Operation Lone Star? You are likely unaware because it hasn’t received much attention. I’m writing to give you a firsthand account of this vital military operation. I hope you will be as proud of our home-grown soldiers as I am.
On The Border
Currently, a contingent of your South Carolina National Guard is standing in the breech serving on the Texas/Mexico border at Eagle Pass, Texas. Governor Henry McMaster mobilized the unit in response to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s request for additional troops to help secure the border.
I was part of a small delegation of State Representatives that just returned after spending time with our Palmetto State soldiers. The two-day trip took Representatives Doug Gilliam, Richie Yow, and me to the border, allowing us to visit with many of our South Carolina soldiers as they stood vigil protecting our southern border under the blistering sun with a heat index of 115+. Our foremost objective was to encourage them and thank them for their service. We also assessed the border situation.
Undoubtedly, every one of those Guard members provides much-needed border security. It is the response by ‘red states’ to do the job our federal government has failed to do — preventing and deterring invaders and massive criminal activity along the border.
Florida Guardsmen recently departed, and South Carolina, Virginia, and Arkansas units are now on duty. Up next will be Iowa, North Dakota, and Nebraska.
West Texas Epicenter
Eagle Pass is a small Texas town of 28,000 on the Rio Grande River. Across the river is Piedras Negras, Mexico, a city with an official population of 143,000 that swells with those who stage there preparing to cross into America. Eagle Pass is currently the epicenter of the invasion.
Thousands of foreigners are illegally crossing our border with little repercussion. Many have taken the month-long trek of 1,000 to 2,000 miles from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, or Costa Rica. Others have traveled much further from Europe, the Middle East, and China. Indeed, many seek a better life for their families in America, but others are dangerous. Our porous border is an open invitation to terrorists, spies, human traffickers, and drug runners. The consequences make every state a border state, including South Carolina. Look no further than this statistic – one person dies here in Aiken County every four days from fentanyl overdoes. That fentanyl floods across our Southern border.
Texas Increases Security
The border at Eagle Pass resembles a war zone. That area has become a key focus of Texas’ border security efforts. While most Texas border walls are in El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley, the area between Eagle Pass and Del Rio doesn’t have many permanent barriers.
Under ‘Operation Lone Star,’ Gov. Abbott stepped up efforts to physically bar migrants from entering the country (and Texas) by zeroing in on the challenges at Eagle Pass. More troops and state troopers have been deployed, and the wall of buoys erected in the Rio Grande that you may have read about or seen on the national news.
Our legislative delegation stood alongside guardsmen observing the 1,000 feet of buoys – a project that was quickly stopped when a federal judge issued an injunction after a kayak operator filed a lawsuit contending the buoys in the middle of the river disrupted his business.
Complicating the work of the Guardsmen is the Carrizo cane and other vegetation on the riverbank. Texas continues to mow it down so those standing guard can better see and intercept migrants.
Whose Side Are They On?
The do-nothing federal government has warned Texas it may violate two international river treaties by deploying the buoys. A Mexican diplomat has also written the U.S. State Department to complain. Texas Congressional Democrats have labeled the stepped-up security inhuman; many of them calling for the Biden administration to get involved to stop Texas.
The unfinished buoy wall is much like the ‘bridge to nowhere’ because invaders can easily wade around it. After all, it is only a tiny section.
Critics also wail over the concertina wire that lines the American side of the border, claiming migrants get caught up in it. I watched and photographed a family with small children quickly navigating the concertina wire from a few feet below me on the riverbank. The National Guard task force commander told me that, in his opinion, calls for increasing the amount of the wire won’t stop migrants, only slow them down. Even the line of shipping containers topped with concertina wire doesn’t stop them. The Guard commander said they must be vigilant for those tunneling under the CONEX containers.
The Rio Grande River is dangerous. Depending on the ever-fluctuating level, it can often be crossed in knee-deep or waist-deep water, but a wrong step and the fall off can drop a person into a sinkhole from which there is no escape. I was told bodies tend to resurface four days later.
For new soldiers who have never been deployed overseas in combat situations, this is their first encounter with death and deplorable circumstances. A National Guard Chaplin helps them cope.
Nattering Nabobs of Negativity
The national media focuses on complaints and criticisms, particularly CNN, MSNBC, and the New York Times reporting on Eagle Pass. They avoid sharing the American perspective of defending the rule of law and the damage being done to our nation by this invasion. They emphasize what they claim to be inhuman treatment or even brutality by state troopers and guardsmen. I can’t speak for every encounter, but I’m confident our National Guard soldiers show compassion in a challenging situation.
For example, our legislative delegation honored two of our soldiers with recognition from the S.C. House of Representatives for coming to the rescue of a child last week. Medics Schylar Plucinski and Dalton Bygate (not pictured) recognized that a migrant child who had just crossed the river showed signs of severe heat exhaustion and had lost consciousness. They rushed to the child’s aid and applied life-saving emergency medical aid to revive the child, who was taken to a hospital by state troopers. The quick response by these soldiers likely saved that child’s life.
In April, a Texas National Guard soldier went missing after he jumped into the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass attempting to rescue two migrants who appeared to be drowning. Despite removing his body armor before entering the river, the soldier did not resurface.
Solution is Clear
Politicians have caused the border invasion. I won’t ascribe motives or partisan blame, but most folks understand America’s backdoor has been thrown wide open, and illegal invaders are flooding our nation. The federal government operates a catch-and-release program. How many illegals will ever reappear for a hearing on their status?
The solution is to apply the laws passed long ago to enforce illegal immigration while supporting our robust legal immigration process. Problem solved.
A majority of Americans are fed up with the border mess. A recent PEW national survey shows nearly half of Americans rate immigration as a very big problem, and 73 percent rate the federal government as doing a bad job. I urge every citizen who agrees with this to inundate Washington with the message – “Close The Border; Enforce Our Laws!”
Since the federal government’s failures have made all states’ border states, the response by Texas is appropriate. I am proud that Gov. McMaster decided to have South Carolina join the effort to protect America by sending our National Guard troops to the border. And, after spending time with those soldiers and their officers, I couldn’t be prouder of our Palmetto State’s National Guard. Please pray for their safe return.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK
A huge thank you to the South Carolina National Guard for arranging our trip to the border and to the officers, enlisted men and women who were so gracious with their time during our visit and border tour. A special thanks to those who watched for our safety (it’s always great to hang around guys and gals with M-4s strapped on). Thanks, too, to the Texas National Guard Task Force Commander and his staff for our briefings and insights into their long-term mission.
Want to Know More?
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- About Me: https://taylorschouse.com/about-2/
- My Positions: https://taylorschouse.com/issues/
- Sponsored Bill & Voting Record: http://tiny.cc/b1pouz
- Recent Newsletters: https://taylorschouse.com/category/newsletter/
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