“blood on the ground” texas state troopers put border residents at risk
A surge in high-speed chases of vehicles thought to contain migrants under the Texas government’s Operation Lone Star program is putting the lives of border residents at higher risk, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Allison Parker, the deputy U.S. director at Human Rights Watch, said, “Public safety doesn’t require careening around Texas roadways or crashing into Texans’ cars and homes.”
HRW published a 77-page report on Monday, “‘So Much Blood on the Ground’: Dangerous and Deadly Vehicle Pursuits under Texas’ Operation Lone Star,” to highlight the plight of border residents.
What happened to border residents?
Gregory Wayne Abbott, the 48th governor of Texas, launched Operation Lone Star in 2021 to respond to an increase in illegal immigration.
Under the program, Texas state troopers pursue people or vehicles suspected of transporting migrants to the border. According to Human Rights Watch, dangerous chases of vehicles killed at least 74 border residents and injured at least another 189 people in 29 months.
The spike in vehicle chases by Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and local law enforcement affected the lives of residents in border counties.
Since the launch of the program, unnecessary vehicle chases have increased by over 1,000 percent, according to HRW. Residents in the 60 most heavily affected Texas counties are affected by vehicle pursuits and crashes. Property damage from vehicle pursuits also affect the lives of residents.
Human rights abuses against Texans and migrants
Under Texas’ Operation Lone Star, chaos, fear, and human rights abuses against Texans and migrants have increased drastically.
Operation Lone Star county residents have experienced human rights abuses. Many people have been killed and injured by vehicle pursuits in Texas counties. This also included the killing of a 7-year-old girl. Around five children of unknown age – all of them Texas residents – were also injured because of high-speed chases of vehicles.
Around 68% of the 5,230 DPS trooper vehicle chases in 254 Texas counties since 2021 happened in the 60 Operation Lone Star counties.
Norma Herrera, a Texas-based consultant to Human Rights Watch, said that drivers, passengers, and even bystanders lose their lives because of high-speed chases.