Unmarked Ford Transit XL used in Operation Lone Star; 27.543382,-99.521493 (Laredo, Texas); Digital photograph; January 2024.

The proponents of Operation Lone Star paint the picture of a defensive campaign. As we traveled between cities and towns along the Texas border, however, it looked distinctly more like an occupation. Nowhere have either of us ever encountered more police—whether it was Border Patrol agents, National Guard troops, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, sheriffs deputies, local police officers, or a wide range of unmarked vehicles occupied by uniformed men with guns. In many places it felt as though there were more police than civilians. Even when these uniformed men were clearly more focused on whatever they were watching on their phones than they were on what was happening (or not happening) around them, encountering unmarked vehicles with armed men at every turn is a jarring experience. (Text adapted from our Border Chronicle photo essay available here.)

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