San Antonio congressman, civil rights groups say Abbott's border initiative causing car-chase deaths

At least 30 people have been killed in car chases tied to Gov. Greg Abbott's sweeping immigration crackdown, civil rights groups said.

click to enlarge Gov. Greg Abbott puts on a scowl and a faux-military shirt for a photo op along the U.S.-Mexico border. - Instagram / governorabbott
Instagram / governorabbott
Gov. Greg Abbott puts on a scowl and a faux-military shirt for a photo op along the U.S.-Mexico border.
San Antonio Congressman Joaquin Castro has asked the Justice Department to intervene after civil rights groups charged that at least 30 people have been killed in car chases tied to Gov. Greg Abbott's sweeping immigration crackdown.

In a letter to sent federal officials Thursday, the ACLU of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project identified at least 30 traffic deaths connected with Abbott's Operation Lone Star since he launched it last March.

The groups said evidence suggests Department of Public Safety troopers involved in the mission are engaged in racial profiling of Latinx drivers and passengers in stops that "turn into deadly vehicle pursuits with alarming frequency."

“Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star is harassing Hispanic communities and creating an intolerable police state in border towns," said Castro, a Democrat, who has made previous requests for the Biden administration to investigate civil rights violations under the Republican governor's controversial immigration crackdown.

"The incidents described in today’s complaint are horrifying, but they are not surprising to those who have been monitoring the trail of abuses linked to Operation Lone Star," Castro continued. "I have long asked the Department of Justice to intervene in Operation Lone Star, and I hope this complaint will push the Department to take legal action to protect civil rights in Texas.”

Abbott has made border security a centerpiece of his reelection campaign and used the $3 billion Operation Lone Star to dispatch 10,000 members of the Texas State Guard and DPS into South Texas to arrest migrants accused of breaking state laws.

Accusations of widespread civil rights violations have plagued the crackdown, and critics have accused Abbott and other state officials of making erroneous claims about its success in busting drug and human smugglers.

Earlier this month, a joint report by the Texas Tribune and ProPublica revealed that the Justice Department is already investigating alleged civil rights abuses under Operation Lone Star.

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