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Operation Lonestar leaders ask for half a billion dollars more for their mission, report says

The military operation was launched as a response to illegal crossings at the southern border. But the price tag has swelled beyond the $2 billion mark so far.

During a state Senate Border Security Committee hearing, Texas military leaders told lawmakers they would need an additional $510 million in funding to continue their mission beyond May 1. 

The military operation has so far deployed roughly 10,000 servicemembers to the border. The initial budget was set at $412 million but state officials have already injected an additional $480 million into the mission.

According to a report The Texas Tribune, Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, the lone Democrat in the three-member committee, strongly rejected the request.

“I think, quite frankly, you can do the same job, border security, with a lot less troops,” Hinojosa told officials with the Texas Military Department. “I really don’t understand the number of having to use 10,000 National Guard troops for border security.”

Maj. Gen. Thomas M. Suelzer said he was assessing the mission to come up with ways to make it more cost effective but Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, insisted the onus falls on lawmakers to come up with a sustainable funding solution to meet the needs of the military given the situation at the border.

“We basically got a city of Waco coming in every month into the state … so the challenge is how do you economize this but sustain it?” he said.

Gov. Abbott and leaders at the Texas Department of Public Safety have credited the state military operation as having disrupted drug and human trafficking crimes.

To read the full report, click here.

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