EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A new Texas law vastly expands the power of Customs and Border Protection agents, who can now make arrests, and do searches and seizures.
Texas Senate Bill 602 went into effect Friday, and it calls for Border Patrol to follow Texas state law enforcement rules.
Federal agents must complete a training program before having the power to search, seize and make arrests in a felony offense.
Retired long-time Border Patrol veteran Aizar Cavazos tols ValleyCentral off-camera that he believes the law will help operations because Border Patrol can coordinate with DPS and local agencies.
The new law states the crime must occur at a port of entry or a Border Patrol checkpoint.
Sister Norma Pimentel of Catholic Charities applauds the law as well. But she also wants to make sure laws are enforced in a humane way.
“We must not overlook the importance of protecting life as well, and the respect and care to human life. And I think that is my major concern. That one does not put aside the other,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel tells ValleyCentral she’s gotten to know the Border Patrol agents well over the years so she trusts they are not the type that would start abusing their powers.
“I strongly believe in the Border Patrol as good men and women and I overall I believe that is what they do. They do carry out the law because that is their responsibility to secure our country and making sure our border is safe,” Pimentel said. “My hopes is that they do respect human life.”
Senate Bill 602 was among six bills passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott aimed at expanding border security.
The law states that Texas would have a criminal law training program for CBP.