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Operation Lone Star

Texas National Guard disbanded intelligence wing after members used WhatsApp to spy on migrants

Four members of the unit working on Gov. Greg Abbott’s border mission have been punished after whistleblowers reported the surveillance operation violated long-standing rules against state-run spy operations.

By Davis Winkie, Military Times, and James Barragán, The Texas Tribune

“Uniquely vulnerable to abuse”

Unaccompanied minor asylum seekers are apprehended by Customs and Border Protection after crossing the border in Roma on Aug. 3, 2021.

Burners on the border

Haitian migrants gather along the banks of the Rio Grande as a Department of Public Safety helicopter flies overhead in Del Rio on Thursday, September 16, 2021.
The Texas National Guard take positions along the Rio Grande to help patrol the border between the U.S. and Mexico, Tuesday, December 20, 2022, in El Paso, Texas. Over 400 personnel have been sent to this border sector by Governor Abbott after El Paso city officials declared a state of emergency. Photo by Ivan Pierre Aguirre for The Texas Tribune

Alarm bells

A group of migrants from Venezuela walk between the southern border wall and the Rio Grande towards a temporary border patrol processing facility on October 6, 2022 in El Paso. Record numbers of migrants, mostly from Venezuela, began arriving at the US/Mexico border this month.

Secrets spilled


People in Piedras Negras, Mexico, are seen taking photos, through recently-installed concertina wire, of the U.S. side as Border Patrol agents patrol Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas on Nov. 8, 2021. 
Verónica G. Cárdenas for ProPublica/The Texas Tribune

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Immigration Politics State government Border Greg Abbott