Guardsman from San Antonio dies while carrying out Gov. Greg Abbott's Operation Lone Star

Sgt. Alex Rios Rodriguez is at least the sixth member of the Texas Guard to die while on the governor's border crackdown.

click to enlarge Gov. Greg Abbott's talks tough at the border during a 2021 news conference touting his immigration crackdown. - Instagram / govabbott
Instagram / govabbott
Gov. Greg Abbott's talks tough at the border during a 2021 news conference touting his immigration crackdown.
Another Texas National Guard soldier has died while carrying out Gov. Greg Abbott's Operation Lone Star — this one from San Antonio, the Express-News reports.

Sgt. Alex Rios Rodriguez, 52, died Thursday in “a non-mission-related incident” at his unit's hotel in McAllen, according to the daily. The guardsman "suffered a medical emergency," military officials said, noting that his death is now under investigation.

Rodriguez is at least the sixth member of the Texas Guard to die while assigned to Operation Lone Star, a $3 billion mission initiated by Abbott to arrest undocumented migrants for state law violations such as trespassing.

In April, 22-year-old Spc. Bishop Evans, died while trying to rescue a migrant crossing the Rio Grande River. At least four other Texas Guard members have committed suicide since the mission began more than a year ago.

Operation Lone Star is one of the largest Texas Guard deployments in recent memory, involving some 10,000 personnel, and it's been plagued with morale problems. Troops have complained about pay shortages, an unclear mission and a lack of equipment.

In a damning report from February by the Military Times and The Texas Tribune, more than three dozen Texas Guard members blasted the mission's "deplorable conditions" and "unclear mission."

Additionally, Operation Lone Star is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for allegations that it violated the civil rights of migrants, some of whom have languished in jail without trial dates or access to attorneys.

Critics have attacked the mission as political stunt by Abbott as he tries to win reelection, and media investigations have uncovered multiple instances where state officials played fast and loose with facts about the crackdown's accomplishments.

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