LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Border Patrol satellite office in Lubbock will not close as soon as the agency has previously announced.
Congress has refused to give permission to accelerate the deactivation of certain Border Patrol offices, as announced Thursday by Congressman Mac Thornberry. Lubbock-based Congressman Randy Neugebauer had also voiced objections to local Border Patrol closures.
This month the Border Patrol announced the upcoming withdraw of 41 agents and the shut-down of interior stations in Abilene, Dallas, San Angelo, San Antonio, Lubbock and Amarillo. The agents were not to lose their jobs but instead were to be stationed closer to the U.S. Mexico Border.
Local law enforcement objected.
"What a huge loss for our area," said Hockley County Sheriff Paul Scarborough at the time of the original announcement. "How this will affect the process of handling incarcerated illegals is yet to be seen, but I am sure it won't make it easier."
A retired Border Patrol agent from Lubbock commented on the KCBD NewsChannel 11 Facebook page at the time, saying, "You ask how the closure will impact on the areas." He continued, "no matter what the official line is, the answer is that human trafficking cases will not be worked."
Local police cannot enforce federal immigration law. So, officers contact the Border Patrol if they encounter people who are suspected of coming to the country illegally.
The denial by Congress is by no means the end of the story. Congressman Thornberry's office is emphasizing that it is a temporary delay.