AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating potential civil rights violations in Texas’ multibillion-dollar border security mission that has given the National Guard arrest powers and seen state authorities bus migrants to Washington, D.C., according to public records.
A lawyer for the state police agency acknowledged the federal probe of Gov. Greg Abbott’s initiative to curb people crossing from Mexico in a May email, records obtained by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune show. The state prison system also cited a “formal investigation” in a letter seeking to withhold public records related to Operation Lone Star.
The investigation comes to light as a human smuggling attempt that left 53 people dead in a sweltering tractor-trailer highlights the limits of state and federal border controls. Crossings along the entire southern border are at or near their highest point in about two decades.