Texas Border patrol requests to change penal code to broaden arrest powers
Under the current law, CBP officials can only detain a person at official points of entry or permanent border patrol traffic checkpoints
November 17, 2022 6:49am
Updated: November 17, 2022 12:30pm
Border Patrol officials on Tuesday requested that the Texas penal code of criminal procedure be changed to add U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to the list of federal agencies that are authorized to enforce state laws in areas beyond the border.
The request was made by Chief Carl Landrum and Assistant Chief Col. Max Lopez of the Laredo sector of the U.S. Border Patrol at a hearing for the Texas Senate Committee on Border Security.
According to the Texas penal code, agents with 18 federal agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), have the power to arrest, search, and seize if they suspect a person has violated the law.
However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials are not included in the list. Under the current law, CBP officials can only detain a person at official points of entry or permanent border patrol traffic checkpoints. CBP officials then turn over suspected lawbreakers to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
“This limits us greatly to these designated locations — these enclaves where most of the manpower is not located at,” Landrum said.
According to Landrum and Lopez, amending the state law would enable the agency to better secure the southern border, which has seen a record-breaking number of migrants cross it.
“Right now, we are in a situation that is overwhelming,” Landrum told state lawmakers Tuesday. “The men and women that are down there, doing the job, providing the border security that is necessary for this country and for the state of Texas, are doing everything they can possibly do. And we identified an opportunity where we could make an amendment ... that would actually help us.”