EXCLUSIVE: Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate seek to empower local law enforcement across the country to enforce U.S. immigration law following the demise of Title 42 last week.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., along with Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., plan to reintroduce legislation Wednesday granting state and local law enforcement the authority to “investigate, identify, apprehend, arrest, detain, or transfer an illegal immigrant who has entered the U.S.”
The bill, officially known as The Empowering Law Enforcement Act, would also provide the Department of Homeland Security flexibility concerning the length of time criminals in the U.S. illegally could be detained and ensure they are not released back into American communities.
US LAWMAKERS WEIGH IN ON END OF TITLE 42, BIDEN’S BORDER CRISIS: ‘WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING’
“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,” Tuberville told Fox News Digital.
Tuberville previously introduced the bill in 2021, but it never made it passed the Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee.
“The Empowering Law Enforcement Act gives state and local officers the ability to enforce immigration laws when federal offices 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,” he added.
BIDEN’S TITLE 42 DISASTER IS MAKING AMERICA LOS ANGELES
Carter told Fox that policies like “defund the police” had already stretched border patrol agents thin, and that the bill would provide more resources to properly support their mission.
“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,” he said.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) — a conservative group that advocates for lower levels of immigration — also expressed support for the revamped bill, telling Fox, “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.”
AMID TITLE 42’S EXPIRATION, THIS BROKE BLUE STATE IS CONSIDERING UNEMPLOYMENT FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS
Title 42 was instated by the Trump administration in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and remained in place until its expiration on May 11. Thousands of migrants swelled at the border in the days ahead of its expiration.
The rush of tens of thousands of migrants overwhelmed Customs and Border Protection. Days earlier, authorities green lit “safe” mass street releases if CBP and NGO partners are unable to hold the overflow of migrants, leading to the largest wave of mass releases in history.
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Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Bill Melugin and Ashlyn Messier contributed to this report.