Texas Drops Curtain on Border Crossers, Sort Of



As a new wave of migrants laps along the southern border, Texas is barricading a key entry point under international bridges in the town of Eagle Pass. Whether Operation Steel Curtain will deter illegal crossers, or just reroute them up or down the largely unpatrolled Rio Grande, is an open question.

A row of some 20 giant shipping containers, interspersed with armored vehicles, now form a front line on the riverbank. Behind them is a phalanx of Texas state troopers as a second line of defense, according to a Border Report dispatch.

About an hour downriver from Del Rio, where 15,000 Haitians and other migrants crossed the Rio Grande in September, Eagle Pass is Texas’ latest stand against an ongoing surge of illegal aliens.

Gov. Greg Abbott declares, “Texas is securing the border.” But is it really?

If Operation Steel Curtain operates anything like the state’s Operation Lone Star (OLS), the results may be disappointing. Since it was launched last spring, OLS has apprehended a little more than 1,000 illegal aliens on state and local charges (mostly trespassing). But limited participation by South Texas prosecutors has hobbled the program. Local officials cannot deport anyone, even as 22,651 illegal aliens were encountered at the Texas-Mexico border in just one week.

For all its heavy hardware, Steel Curtain is even more restricted. For now, Eagle Pass is its only operational site along the 1,241-mile Texas-Mexico border.

But National Guard spokesman Mike Perry says the Steel Curtain platform will enable state troopers and guardsmen “to surge personnel, equipment and capabilities anywhere within the state of Texas to low-water crossings so we can repel and block any large caravans coming across.”

Perry said Guard units and the state Department of Public Safety are working with ranchers to put up blockades and other tactical devices. Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters are also being utilized “as air insertion for deterrence,” he told Border Report.

While Guardsmen and state troopers conducted maneuvers in the Eagle Pass area last month in preparation for a possible Del Rio-style deluge, no one knows precisely where the next onslaught will occur. Texas officials are betting on Eagle Pass (home of the Lucky Eagle Casino) and here’s hoping they’re right.

Yet even if the state’s riverfront operation works to perfection, any detained illegal aliens will be turned over to U.S. Border Patrol for “processing.” In all too many cases, that means their release into the country under liberal asylum rules.

At the end of the day, the $2 billion Texas is spending on border enforcement operations is offset, or at least diminished, by the radical and irresponsible immigration policies of the Biden administration.

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

FAIR blogs can now be found on our main site at https://www.fairus.org/blog