SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — Texas Governor Greg Abbott is taking another step toward his stated mission to the secure the border, this time with the addition of a new Border Czar.
Mike Banks was introduced this week in San Benito as Special Advisor on Border Matters to the Governor, and he adds another layer to Operation Lone, the multi-agency effort launched in March 2021 to secure to border of Texas and Mexico.
“As an award-winning Border Patrol Agent, with decades of federal law enforcement and border security experience, Mike is the perfect choice to oversee Texas’ fight against the surge of illegal immigration, lethal drugs, and deadly weapons flowing into our state and nation,” said Governor Abbott. “I have no doubt that Mike’s strong record of leadership and wealth of experience will provide Texans—and Americans—the level of border security expertise they deserve from a proper Border Czar.”
Operation Lone Star involves the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), and the Texas National Guard working together to stop the smuggling of drugs, weapons, and people into Texas; and prevent, detect, and interdict transnational criminal behavior between ports of entry.
Since the launch of Operation Lone Star, the multi-agency effort has led to over 347,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions and more than 24,000 criminal arrests, with more than 22,000 felony charges reported. In the fight against fentanyl, DPS has seized over 360 million lethal doses of fentanyl during this border mission.
Texas has also bused more than 9,100 migrants to our nation’s capital since April, over 5,200 migrants to New York City since August 5, more than 1,500 migrants to Chicago since August 31, and more than 890 migrants to Philadelphia since November 15.
Governor Abbott says Operation Lone Star is there to fill what he calls dangerous gaps left by the Biden Administration’s open border policies.
Mike Banksof Mission is a former U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) Weslaco Station Patrol Agent in Charge. Banks has over three decades of federal law enforcement leadership experience, with 23 years in border security operations and administration along the United States-Mexico border. He previously served as Acting Deputy Chief of Law Enforcement Operational Programs at the USBP headquarters in Washington, D.C., USBP McAllen Station Patrol Agent in Charge, USBP Rio Grande Valley Sector Executive Officer and Acting Division Chief, and other various USBP leadership positions in Texas, Arizona, and California. He is also a former member of the U.S. Navy Military Police. Banks holds an associate’s degree in Administration of Justice from Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California, a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership from South Texas College, and other awards from the U.S. Navy and USBP.
For the last 2 years, Texas has taken historic action to respond to the border crisis President Biden created.
Mike Banks, our new Texas Border Czar, will help Texas continue to stem the flow of drugs, weapons, & people into our state.
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) February 2, 2023