"Operation Lone Star," ordered by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, has resulted in 7,744 migrants arrested on criminal charges.
The announcement came from the Texas Military Department (TMD) and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). The figures are as of Oct. 14 and include 1,300 arrests for criminal trespassing and 6,339 arrests for felony charges.
In addition, there were 73,031 migrant apprehensions and referrals and 822 vehicle pursuits.
Abbott earlier this year ordered the National Guard to help local law enforcement with arresting migrants who break state laws amid the border crisis.
"We’re not doing catch and release; we’re doing catch and jail," Lt. Chris Olivarez of the DPS said in a Fox News interview posted on Twitter by Abbott in September.
In a Tuesday tweet that included a Fox News clip of Texas law enforcement officials arresting migrants hiding in rail cars, Abbott said immigrants who commit crimes, "will be put behind bars not sent to Border Patrol for catch & release. TxDPS, along with the Texas National Guard, have made thousands of arrests this year through #OperationLoneStar."
Brig. Gen. Monie Ulis, Operation Lone Star commander, said in a statement announcing the arrest figures last week, "The Texas National Guard is surging personnel, equipment, and capabilities to the Texas and Mexico border region in support of Operation Lone Star. As we build our force, we remain ready to detect, block, and apprehend individuals and groups conducting illegal activity."
The statement noted that in "addition to manpower, TMD also has hundreds of items of tactical equipment assigned to help securing the border, stretching from Del Rio to Brownsville, as well as air assets. Additional pieces of tactical equipment will be brought to the border in the next few weeks to help with the mission."
Officials also pointed out one recent arrest, in Cameron County by the DPS Strike Team, after a traffic stop where the driver fled on foot. He was later found to be hiding in a garage.
It turned out the man was a deported felon who had 32 packages of cocaine and was transporting four migrants in the vehicle.
"We will remain at the border and focus on the core mission of OLS (Operation Lone Star) as long as is needed," said DPS Director Steven McCraw. "We are still making numerous arrests and seizing large quantities of drugs and guns, showing our presence there is necessary.”
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