Enforcing Texas’ new immigration law may be challenging, even for authorities that support it

Enforcing Texas’ new immigration law may be challenging, even for authorities that support it

By Alejandro Serrano, The Texas Tribune

Enforcing Texas’ new immigration law may be challenging, even for authorities that support it” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Terrell County Sheriff Thaddeus Cleveland has 54 miles of U.S.-Mexico border in the West Texas jurisdiction he patrols, and five deputies.

Cleveland said he “fully” supports Texas’ new immigration law that will let authorities like him arrest people suspected of illegally entering the state from another country. He also appreciates Operation Lone Star, the state’s border security initiative that has given him funds to hire two deputies and buy equipment and vehicles.

But Cleveland, who served as a Border Patrol agent for 26 years before becoming sheriff of the county where he grew up, must also contemplate reality. His jail can only hold seven people, he said. The nearest legal points of entry into the country, through which those arrested under the new law would have to be returned in some instances, are hours away.

“Business as usual here, meaning: We have that tool in our toolbelt if we need it,” Cleveland said of the new law during a phone interview Wednesday that he had to briefly pause to answer a 911 call. “But we have a Border Patrol station here that I will more than likely continue to just turn over our apprehensions [to].”

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