AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW/AP) — The U.S. Justice Department is investigating potential civil rights violations in Texas’ multibillion-dollar border security mission that gave the National Guard arrest powers and saw state authorities bus migrants to Washington.
An attorney for the state police agency acknowledged in an email in May a federal investigation into Gov. Greg Abbott’s initiative to stop people from crossing into Mexico, records obtained by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune show. The state prison system also referred to the “official investigation” in the letter, which sought to withhold public records.
Here’s how to allocate some of the funding.
- 19.5 million dollars for specialized law enforcement equipment/supplies such as patrol vehicles, interoperable radios, surveillance equipment, bulletproof vests, thermal/night vision technology, and search and rescue equipment.
- 16 million dollars overtime, for contract and salaried peace officers, jail employees, prosecutors, indigent defense and administrative court employees.
- 1.9 million dollars for construction of regional emergency communications/radio towers, as well as additional capacity at county jails.
- 800 thousand dollars For travel expenses related to non-border countries providing law enforcement assistance to disaster-declared states, as well as specialized training for law enforcement and prosecutorial personnel.
The investigation comes as a human smuggling attempt that killed 53 people highlights the limits of state and federal border enforcement. Crossings along the entire southern border are at or near their highest point in nearly two decades.
Abbott, a Republican seeking re-election last year, launched a massive law enforcement crackdown on the border, citing inaction by President Joe Biden’s administration. The increased number of officers led to arrests, including trespassing, small amounts of marijuana and other minor crimes that have little to do with border security. Some of those detained remained in state prisons for weeks.
Emails from Texas Department of Public Safety officials show that federal officials are looking into whether the operation violated a law against discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin by organizations that receive federal funds.
A spokeswoman for the Justice Department’s civil rights division declined to comment. A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety did not return a request for comment, and a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice did not immediately have any comment.
Since April, Abbott has also offered to bus migrants to Washington, D.C., and said he was taking the immigration issue to the doorstep of Congress. So far, about 3,000 migrants have spent more than 5 million dollars on this trip.
The efforts have not prevented a recent increase in crossings at the southern border. Authorities stopped illegal migrant crossings 523,000 times between January and May, up from 417,000 a year earlier.
Report: Justice Department investigating multibillion-dollar Texas border mission
Source link Report: Justice Department investigating multibillion-dollar Texas border mission