Legislation grants state and local law enforcement increased immigration enforcement authority
WASHINGTON — Days after the expiration of Title 42 intensified the lawless situation at the southern border, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and U.S. Representative Buddy Carter (R-GA-01) reintroduced legislation to counteract the Biden administration’s refusal to enforce U.S. immigration laws.
The Empowering Law Enforcement Act would grant state and local law enforcement inherent immigration enforcement authority to investigate, identify, apprehend, arrest, detain, or transfer an illegal immigrant who has entered the U.S. Additionally, this legislation would provide the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary flexibility on how long a criminal alien may be detained, extending the 180-day period to ensure violent criminals are not released back into communities.
“With the Biden administration ignoring federal law and facilitating historic levels of illegal immigration, we should give state and local law enforcement the authority to keep their communities safe,” said Senator Tuberville.“The Empowering Law Enforcement Act gives state and local officers the ability to enforce immigration laws when federal officers are prohibited from doing so. It also would extend the detention period for dangerous criminal aliens. The Biden administration has opened up our border and undermined our law enforcement — this bill would bring that to an end.”
“Like all our law enforcement officers right now, thanks to the dangerous ‘defund the police’ movement, our border patrol agents are overworked and are not properly resourced or supported,” said Representative Carter. “This bill will empower law enforcement to enforce immigration laws, even in sanctuary cities, so that they can keep our communities safe and restore law and order. With the recent influx in border crossings due to the expiration of Title 42, this is an all hands on deck situation.”
Specifically, the Empowering Law Enforcement Act would:
- Allow immigration enforcement authority for state and local law enforcement entities, including the ability to investigate, identify, apprehend, arrest, detain, or transfer an alien into federal custody.
- Ensure that illegal immigrants are detained in federal custody upon state or local law enforcement request.
- Reimburse state or local authorities for related incarceration and transportation costs.
- Permit the Secretary of Homeland Security to extend the detention of criminal aliens until removal from the U.S.
- Promote immigration information sharing between DHS and the FBI for the benefit of state and local law enforcement.
The legislation is endorsed by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
“FAIR supports the Empowering Law Enforcement Act of 2023, and believes now is the time to provide more tools to state and local law enforcement officers who are bearing the burden of our border crisis and mass illegal immigration surges.”
U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) are original cosponsors. Senator Tuberville previously introduced the Empowering Law Enforcement Act in 2021.
During his two years in the Senate, Senator Tuberville has made multiple visits to the southern border and worked on various legislative initiatives to secure the border, including giving law enforcement the tools needed to keep our communities safe and reforming immigration laws to crack down on abuse and discourage illegal immigration.
In March 2023, Senator Tuberville introduced the Border Safety and Security Act to combat the border crisis created by President Biden’s immigration policies. The legislation puts more responsibility on the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and gives increased authority to state attorneys general in holding DHS accountable if the department fails in its duty to restrict entry and detain illegal immigrants.
Also in March 2023, Senator Tuberville cosponsored the Stopping Border Surges Act to address loopholes in our immigration system that encourage vulnerable immigrant populations to take dangerous, illegal paths of entry into the United States. The legislation includes reforms that would reduce unsustainable surges of illegal immigrants, strengthen our asylum process, eliminate the incentive to send children to the border; and dampen the exploitative power of coyotes and cartels.
The introduction of these bills followed Senator Tuberville hosting a roundtable with state experts and recording a public service announcement warning of the dangers of fentanyl, which is pouring into our communities after coming across the southern border. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports Alabama has seen a 271% increase in fentanyl-related deaths in just the last two years. Nationally, fentanyl overdose is cited as the leading cause of death for those ages 18–45.
In 2022, Senator Tuberville joined congressional colleagues in introducing a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to dissolve a Biden administration rule that would illegally upend the process by which the U.S. government grants asylum claims. The rule would exacerbate the crisis at the border and encourage fraudulent asylum claims by allowing illegal border crossers who claim asylum to have their asylum application approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials instead of immigration judges. The rule also allows illegal border crossers claiming asylum to live in the U.S. free from detention while their application is pending.
Senator Tuberville has spoken about his concerns on the floor of the U.S. Senate and called on the Biden administration to act to keep Americans safe.
Also in 2022, Senator Tuberville visited the Del Rio sector of our southern border in Eagle Pass, Texas, where he met with those on the frontlines of the border crisis, including National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd and Del Rio Sector Chief Jason Owens. During the visit, Senator Tuberville observed firsthand the crisis created by President Biden’s policies and listened to officials describe the resources they need to secure the border.
Additional information about Senator Tuberville’s work to combat the Biden border crisis can be found below.
- TUBERVILLE OP-ED: Where is Biden’s Border Plan?
- TUBERVILLE OP-ED: Biden is Giving a Green Light Where There Should be a Stop Sign
- Tuberville Details the Dangers of Biden’s Border Crisis, Calls on Administration to Act
- Tuberville, Colleagues Raise Concern About Biden Administration Allowing Individuals Who Have Supported Terrorism to Immigrate to the U.S.
- Tuberville, Colleagues Introduce Resolution to Repeal Biden Administration Policy Upending Asylum Process
- Tuberville Torches HHS as Border Crisis Grows
- Tuberville, Tillis, Rounds Introduce the Empowering Law Enforcement Act
- Tuberville: The Biden Border Crisis is a Stain on Our Nation
- Tuberville on Border Security: President Biden Sending a ‘Come One, Come All’ Signal
- Tuberville Statement on Opposition to Alejandro Mayorkas
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.