FIRST ON FOX: A GOP House lawmaker has introduced a piece of legislation that aims to reimburse Texas for the nearly $4 billion in expenses it incurred to secure the southern border in recent years.

Titled the “Operation Lone Star Reimbursement Act,” the measure was introduced Thursday evening by Texas Republican Rep. Roger Williams and would, if successful, reimburse the state for the combined $3,726,400,000 it spent on activities related to securing the southern border from 2020 through 2023.

“The Federal Government is primarily responsible for securing the borders of the United States at and between ports of entry,” the bill reads. “Due to the lack of action by the Federal Government, the State of Texas has been forced to continually appropriate funds to secure the southern border of the United States.”

In an effort to “help maintain safety and security for all citizens” in the U.S., the measure noted that Texas has protected Americans from criminal acts of human trafficking, sex trafficking, drug proliferation, illicit movement of weapons and contraband, criminal organizations and unlawful entry.


Texas southern border

Migrants cross the Rio Grande in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Dec. 5, 2023. (David Peinado/Anadolu via Getty Images)

To secure the border, the measure said Texas spent more than $800,000,000 in 2020 and 2021, and more than $2,926,400,000 in 2022 through 2023.

The bill also explained that Texas “plans to spend an additional $4,600,000,000 to secure the border” from 2024 through 2025.

The bill calls on Texas to submit an application for reimbursement to the secretary of Homeland Security and the secretary of the Treasury Department that includes the total amount the state spent on securing the southern border over the last four years.

Should the measure pass and be signed into law, the bill states that the Treasury secretary “shall pay to the State of Texas, out of any amounts in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, an amount equal to the total amount of expenses” outlined in the bill within 60 days of Texas filing the application.

“As the border crisis rages on, President Biden has failed to uphold his duty to defend our borders from foreign invasion, leaving border states like Texas to fend for themselves,” Williams told Fox News Digital in a statement. “I am proud to introduce the Operation Lone Star Reimbursement Act to ensure Texans don’t have to continually shell out taxpayer dollars to secure the southern border of the United States.”


Roger Williams

“Since Biden refuses to do his job and safeguard the American people, Texas has been forced to step up to protect our homes and communities, and we must be reimbursed,” Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, told Fox News Digital. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images)

“Since Biden refuses to do his job and safeguard the American people, Texas has been forced to step up to protect our homes and communities, and we must be reimbursed,” he added.

The legislation from Williams comes amid Texas’ years-long feud with President Biden and his administration over efforts to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

Earlier this year, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Texas over a state law that allows authorities to arrest illegal immigrants, further pitting Republican Gov. Greg Abbott against the Biden administration.

The lawsuit, filed in an Austin federal court, came after Abbott signed into law in December a measure challenging the federal government’s authority over immigration matters. In addition to Biden, several blue cities like New York and Chicago have pushed back against Abbott for having thousands of migrants bussed from his state to their jurisdictions.

Under the Texas law, migrants could either agree to a judge’s order to leave the U.S. or be prosecuted on misdemeanor charges of illegal entry. Those who don’t leave could face serious felony charges if arrested again.

Those ordered to leave would be sent to ports of entry along the border with Mexico, even if they are not Mexican citizens. The law can be enforced anywhere in Texas, but some places are off-limits, including schools and churches.

Texas southern border

A Texas National Guard soldier stands vigil at a makeshift migrant camp near the U.S.-Mexico border fence on May 11, 2023, in El Paso, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)


“Texas has spent billions to help maintain the safety and security of all citizens across the United States and fight back against deadly human trafficking, sex trafficking, drug and cartel activity, and seemingly endless unlawful entries that are draining Texas’ resources,” said Williams, who serves as chair of the House Small Business Committee. “It’s past time Biden recognizes this crisis for what it is and stands with Texans to secure our nation.”

Fox News’ Louis Casiano and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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