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Future of Operation Lone Star remains uncertain

Under the Texas operation, DPS troopers can arrest migrants for trespassing if they’re on private or State property.

AUSTIN, Texas — The fate of Operation Lone Star remains uncertain after a Travis County judge ruled last week that the program is unconstitutional. 

Under Operational Lone Star, DPS troopers can arrest migrants for trespassing if they’re on private or State property.  

“The judge ruled that the order, or the charge, was unconstitutional because the state was overstepping its bounds over what should have been a federal issue,” said immigration attorney Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch. 

The ruling may be having a domino effect on other cases.

“Now, many more defendants who are facing the same charges under the state for what is an immigration violation have brought the same petitions in their own criminal cases,” said Lincoln-Goldfinch.

Kinney County Attorney Brent Smith is appealing the decision, arguing that the case should be heard in Kinney County since that is where migrants are being arrested for trespassing. 

Kinney County Sheriff Public Information Officer Matt Benacci said they plan to continue with arresting those who trespass. 

“Kinney County does not recognize any jurisdictional authority from the Travis County District Court order entered by Judge Jan Soifer on Jan. 13, 2022,” said Benacci. 

According to DPS, since Operation Lone Star started in March of 2021, DPS has made more than 10,100 criminal arrests, including 2,434 for criminal trespassing. They declined our request to interview. 

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