CAMERON COUNTY, Texas –Texas Border Czar, Mike Banks, toured Texas National Guard emplacements and fortified positions along the Rio Grande River near Brownsville, February 2023. Governor Greg Abbott appointed Banks to be his special advisor on border matters in January.
“Human trafficking and drug smuggling are big problems at Texas’ southern border,” said Banks, who worked for over 20 years as a border patrol agent. “Operation Lone Star is essential for the safety and security of Texans.”
During his tour, Banks met with myriad of troops involved in several different facets of Operation Lone Star.
“I wanted to come to speak with the Airmen and Soldiers on the frontlines to find out what resources and tools are working the best to stem illegal immigration,” said Banks. “We are going to expand our infrastructure and utilize advanced technology to continue to curb criminal activity at our border.”
Banks asked questions and also answered questions from Operation Lone Star Guardsmen.
“He gave us great insight into how the mission will unfold moving forward and how it continues to evolve in a positive way. It was a big morale boost,” said TSgt Bryan LaCour, the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Standards and Evaluations in Task Force South. “We have been hearing about the Border Czar--and now being able to put a face with the name, and having some questions answered helped troops to see the big picture of border security and stay laser-focused on the job.”
Operation Lone Star has led to more than 350,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions, over 24,000 criminal arrests, and more than 362 million deadly fentanyl doses seized.
Cartels are trying to take advantage of border patrol agents by overwhelming them with mass illegal migration, creating a diversion so drug smugglers and criminal aliens can sneak into Texas according to Banks who said Texas National Guardsmen are doing all they can to fill in the gaps.
“We are keeping Texans safe by apprehending illegal aliens and properly processing them, so we know who is trying to enter our country, we will not allow criminals to overrun our border,” said Banks. “I am extremely honored to be in this position and appreciate our guardsmen working to protect our border, this is truly Texans serving Texans.”