NEWS: New funding bill again prevents closures of Border Patrol stations in Texas
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Obama Administration’s plan to close six interior Border Patrol stations in Texas has hit another roadblock. The government funding bill passed by both the House and the Senate specifically prohibits the closures at least through September 30, 2013.“We have continued to work on this issue, and we are very pleased that our concerns about the immigration enforcement gaps these closures could create are being taken seriously,” said local Congressman Mac Thornberry. “We are working through serious spending and budget issues, and no federal agency should be immune. But, it makes no sense whatsoever to be pennywise and pound-foolish when it comes to controlling who and what comes across our borders,” he continued.Citing “cost-saving measures,” the U.S. Customs and Border Protection filed a plan to deactivate nine interior Border Patrol stations in four states in 2012. Since then, Rep. Thornberry has been working with other members of the Texas congressional delegation, as well as leaders on relevant committees, to slow the closures until the agency develops a viable plan to deal with immigration enforcement if the stations are closed. The most recent success to halt the closures came in the form of language included in the FY 2013 government funding bill that specifically states, “CBP is prohibited from closing Border Patrol stations in Texas, as proposed in the budget request. CBP and ICE have not produced a transition plan to ensure the immigration enforcement needs of local sheriffs will be supported without a Border Patrol presence.”“I am thrilled with this news because there really is no plan to fill in the enforcement gaps these closures would create. There are a lot of unknowns just to save a few dollars,” said Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas, who has been vocal in his opposition to the station closures. “Closing these stations would leave us high and dry. I am ecstatic that this federal resource will still be available to us in the near term,” he said.