Cammack Blasts Texas Democrat Who Claimed Operation Lone Star Is ‘Waste Of Money’

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(The Center Square)

U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack blasted a Democratic witness at a U.S. House subcommittee hearing last week after she refused to answer questions under oath and laughed when she was asked if Texas law enforcement officers seizing enough fentanyl to kill everyone in the United States was a waste of money.

After Democratic Brooks County Sheriff Benny Martinez testified about the record number of dead foreign nationals in his rural county, Democrat Rochelle Garza, president of the Texas Civil Rights Project, testified that Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security mission, Operation Lone Star, is illegal and a waste of taxpayer money.

She also said, “our Governor is wrong about how fentanyl enters the United States. The vast majority of fentanyl seized at the border is intercepted at either U.S. ports of entry or through U.S. mail, with most smugglers being U.S. citizens.”

Garza also said, “Operation Lone Star has not resulted in any reduction in fentanyl deaths” in the districts of the members of Congress who presided over the hearing.

Garza, an attorney, ran against Attorney General Ken Paxton in November and lost. She, Martinez, and two others testified at a U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Joint Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee and Health Subcommittee hearing in Weslaco, Texas, on Feb. 15.

Related: New Operation Lone Star Task Force Now Tracking And Apprehending Gotaways

Since March 2021, when Abbott launched OLS, Texas law enforcement officials alone have seized more than 360 million lethal doses of fentanyl between ports of entry and throughout Texas.

Cammack asked Garza if OLS was a waste of money and wasn’t stopping fentanyl deaths, “how do you explain the 361 million lethal doses that have been confiscated? And in your opinion, what is the price of a life?”

Garza replied, “we are talking about billions of dollars that have further militarized this region and the state of Texas. It has been a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

When Cammack repeated her question, Garza continued to talk over her and Cammack said, “I’m going to reclaim my time. When I reclaim my time that means you have to stop talking.”

When Cammack asked Garza again if the confiscation of 361 million lethal doses of fentanyl was a waste of taxpayer money, Garza laughed and wouldn’t answer the question.

At one point, Garza said, she “didn’t know why we are here at the border, there is no connection to fentanyl.”

In response, Cammack said, “let me show you the connection” and held up a photo of a 958-gram brick of fentanyl seized in Marion County, Florida, after it had been trafficked across the border by illegal foreign nationals. “That is the connection,” she said. “And it’s not just my district. Every single one of these members today have illegal substances in their district as a result of [President Joe Biden’s] open border policies. Every single one of us has constituents who have been poisoned as a result. To say that there’s no connection is wildly inappropriate, unacceptable, and [to] the families who’ve lost loved ones as a result of the open border policies, you should apologize.”

She also pointed to data stating that only 5-10% of the fentanyl seized is documented; “that’s what we know of,” she said.

She then asked Garza if she believed that Biden “taking $130 million from homeless veterans programs under FEMA and redirecting it to the border crisis” was social justice.

Garza replied by accusing her of “using the border as political talking points” and refused to answer the question.

Related: Abbott Expanding Operation Lone Star in Effort to Secure Southern Border

Cammack tweeted a clip of the exchange, saying, “I shut down some of the most insane commentary I’ve heard in my time in Congress.” Garza’s comments “weren’t defensible,” she said, adding, “She owes every family an apology that has lost a loved one including those who have been abused at the hands of the cartels.”

Prior to Garza’s testimony, Border Patrol chiefs refuted the claim that fentanyl isn’t being smuggled between ports of entry. Law enforcement officials have also told The Center Square they’re apprehending foreign nationals who’ve entered between ports of entry carrying fentanyl and other drugs in their backpacks. Known as gotaways, they’re largely single military-age men intentionally evading capture by law enforcement who aren’t claiming asylum. Many are armed and dangerous, committing robberies and other crimes.

The DEA announced last year that its agents had seized enough fentanyl to kill everyone in the United States and identified Mexican cartels as facilitating the fentanyl crisis. Its seizures occurred nationwide, not just at ports of entry, and excluded those made by state law enforcement agencies and U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

Last year, Paxton’s campaign paid for billboards claiming Garza defended human traffickers, saying she was “working to enable these criminals by defending them in court.” Garza’s spokesperson didn’t deny that Garza represented alleged human traffickers, arguing everyone is entitled to a defense. She told The Houston Chronicle that Garza “withdrew herself as legal counsel within days from the cases to which the billboards are referring. In one case, she never even served as attorney of record. In the other, her representation was withdrawn within a matter of days.”

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

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