Amarillo, TX - Local law enforcement and legislators are pleased with an announcement to temporarily halt the closing of Amarillo's Border Patrol office.
Congressman Mac Thornberry says for now, congress has denied the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol's request to deactivate nine offices across the U.S. and here in Amarillo.
"It's a step in the right direction, the Border Patrol asked to move some money around to speed up the closing of these offices and that's been denied, but there is still a lot of work left to be done to make sure that local law enforcement has the federal back up that they need on these cases," added Thornberry.
Thornberry adds it became obvious there was no set plan for who would help local law enforcement with illegal immigration if the offices close.
Sheriff Brian Thomas has been voicing his concerns about the closures and says he is glad someone is listening.
"It's awesome, one that somebody listened and somebody else realizes that there is a problem here that could affect not only just the area in the panhandle but it also could affect the United States. I mean lets be realistic about it, it could affect anyone here in the United States," said Thomas.
Thornberry says for the safety of the panhandle and the U.S. there needs to be federal help for local agencies.
"If you look at the number of apprehensions by these Border Patrol offices that they want to close, it's enormous."
Thornberry says in just the last year the Amarillo and Lubbock offices helped arrest 142 illegal aliens.
That is why Sheriff Thomas says they are essential.
"The two of them that we have in Amarillo were out, when I got this press release were out on the highway making a stop," said Thomas.
Congressman Thornberry says he will continue to work with both local and federal agencies to answer questions about the possible closures.