Enforcing border security with a Texas state trooper

As the 2024 presidential campaign focuses on border security, a particular area along the Rio Grande in Texas has become the main battleground between the state and the federal government.

For the past three years, Operation Lone Star has served as the focal point of Texas’ border security efforts. This initiative, spearheaded by Governor Greg Abbott, seeks to discourage the unprecedented influx of illegal border crossings. Operation Lone Star has effectively deployed numerous state police officers and National Guard soldiers to reinforce border security.

Gov. Abbott has already dedicated over $11 billion to Operation Lone Star. In a recent interview with 60 Minutes, Abbott emphasized that the investment has proven to be worthwhile. Importantly, he clarified that his intentions are not to circumvent federal immigration laws.

According to Governor Abbott, Texas is not attempting to enforce its own law but rather to uphold the existing law that prohibits illegal border crossings and mandates the detention of those who do so.

During a recent visit to the border, 60 Minutes correspondent Cecilia Vega accompanied Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Jaclyn Gooding on a ride-along. Trooper Gooding revealed that the majority of her duties now revolve around the border.

According to Gooding, Operation Lone Star has had a significant impact on their role. Initially, their duties mainly involved routine highway patrol tasks such as traffic stops, handling accidents, and identifying intoxicated drivers. However, since the implementation of this operation, their responsibilities have expanded to include the enforcement of laws related to human smuggling. This has become a major focus of their work, unlike anything they have encountered in the past.

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“It seems like everything is intertwined at this moment,” she expressed.

Gooding explained to Vega that the state troopers stationed along the border frequently find themselves far away from their families and putting in extensive hours. It is not unusual for them to work consecutive seven-day shifts, with each day lasting between 12 to 15 hours.

“It’s incredibly overwhelming,” expressed Gooding, feeling a sense of hopelessness. “At this moment, it feels as if there is no glimmer of hope in sight.”

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