‘Tricky business’: Greg Abbott used pandemic relief funds to ship migrants out of Texas

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Of the four U.S. states that share a border with Mexico, two of them have Democratic governors (California and New Mexico), while two of them have GOP governors (Arizona and Texas). Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, whose 2022 reelection campaign has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, has been an aggressive, vocal supporter of building a wall on the U.S./Mexico border — and according to reporting in The Nation, Abbott diverted $1 billion in pandemic relief dollars to wall construction, shipping migrants out of the state and other projects that were part of his Operation Lone Star program.

In an article published by The Nation on October 6, journalist Barbara Koeppel reports, “In spring 2021, he declared Southern Texas ‘a disaster area’ overrun by marauding migrants, thanks to what he labels President Joe Biden’s ‘open-border policies.’ To stem the flow, Abbott launched Operation Lone Star (OLS), marshaling the Texas National Guard and state troopers to beef up security at the border with Mexico. He also tapped the OLS budget for his recent headline-grabbing scheme to bus 12,000 migrants to Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago since last spring.”

Koeppel continues, “But this was tricky business, since OLS was going to be colossally costly. To come up with the funds he needed, Abbott practiced some accounting so creative some might call it magic. Others might label it fraud.”

READ MORE: How Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott channel segregationists with their anti-immigration stunts

Funds meant for COVID-19 relief, journalist John Bowden reports in The Independent, were used “for his program designed to bus groups of migrants out of Texas and around the continental U.S.”

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