Blackburn, Tuberville, Cassidy, Carter Reintroduce Empowering Law Enforcement Act as Border Crisis Intensifies

May 24, 2023

NASHVILLE, TENN. – Days after the expiration of Title 42 intensified the lawless situation at the southern border, U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), and Representative Buddy Carter (R-Ga-01) reintroduced legislation to counteract the Biden administration’s refusal to enforce U.S. immigration laws.

The Empowering Law Enforcement Act would grant state and local law enforcement inherent immigration enforcement authority to investigate, identify, apprehend, arrest, detain, or transfer an illegal immigrant who has entered the U.S. Additionally, this legislation would provide the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary flexibility on how long a criminal alien may be detained, extending the 180-day period to ensure violent criminals are not released back into communities.

“Biden’s open border agenda has created an unprecedented crisis at our southern border,” said Senator Blackburn. “Amid this disaster, we must equip state and local law enforcement with the tools they need to stem the mass influx of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border. This bill ensures that even in sanctuary cities, where federal immigration officials have their hands tied, state and local officers can enforce immigration laws. Border Patrol is overwhelmed, and the Empowering Law Enforcement Act will give them the backup they desperately need to secure the border.”

“With the Biden administration ignoring federal law and facilitating historic levels of illegal immigration, we should give state and local law enforcement the authority to keep their communities safe,” said Senator Tuberville. “The Empowering Law Enforcement Act gives state and local officers the ability to enforce immigration laws when federal officers are prohibited from doing so. It also would extend the detention period for dangerous criminal aliens. The Biden administration has opened up our border and undermined our law enforcement — this bill would bring that to an end.”

“Like all our law enforcement officers right now, thanks to the dangerous ‘defund the police’ movement, our border patrol agents are overworked and are not properly resourced or supported,” said Representative Carter. “This bill will empower law enforcement to enforce immigration laws, even in sanctuary cities, so that they can keep our communities safe and restore law and order. With the recent influx in border crossings due to the expiration of Title 42, this is an all hands on deck situation.”

Specifically, the Empowering Law Enforcement Act would:


  1. Give immigration enforcement authority to state and local law enforcement entities, including the ability to investigate, identify, apprehend, arrest, detain, or transfer an alien into federal custody.
  2. Ensure that illegal immigrants are detained in federal custody upon state or local law enforcement request.
  3. Reimburse state or local authorities for related incarceration and transportation costs.
  4. Permit the Secretary of Homeland Security to extend the detention of criminal aliens until removal from the U.S.
  5. Promote immigration information sharing between DHS and the FBI for the benefit of state and local law enforcement. 

The legislation is endorsed by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

“FAIR supports the Empowering Law Enforcement Act of 2023, and believes now is the time to provide more tools to state and local law enforcement officers who are bearing the burden of our border crisis and mass illegal immigration surges,” said FAIR.

Click here for bill text.