Sheriff Andy ‘AJ’ Louderback from Jackson County Texas Joins the Tennessee Star Report LIVE in DC and Describes the ‘Corridors of Criminality’ and How It Affects His Community


On Wednesday’s Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – live from radio row in Washington, D.C. Leahy chatted with Sheriff Andy Louderback from Jackson county Texas to talk about the issues his county faces in relation to illegal immigration.

And the end of the first hour, Louderback explained that he would like more unilateral authority given to local law enforcement in certain areas. He expressed he was not looking for full-blown immigration status but merely the help of CPB and ICE coupled with an expansion of 287-G of the Immigration and Naturalization Act.

Leahy: We are sitting here with Sheriff AJ Louderback of Jackson County, Texas. Welcome, Sheriff.

Louderback: Thank you, sir.

Leahy: We’re delighted to have you here Sheriff. You’re from a small rural county in southeastern Texas. About 15,000 folks?

Louderback: Yes, sir. A little over that. But yes sir.

Leahy: When they have a picture in the dictionary of a Texas Sheriff, I think you’re in that picture. You’ve got the look of a guy I would not want to mess with.

Louderback: Well, thank you.

Leahy: Now you’ve got a little different situation down I guess there than we do. Are you experiencing a problem with illegal immigration in your county?

Louderback: For decades.

Leahy: Tell us a little bit about those particular problems you are seeing. Are you on the path? How far are you from the border? Not too far are you?

Louderback: We are a corridor county. And geographically if you look at the map of Texas and you come up from the Rio Grande Valley sector on US-77, it intersects with US-59 and Victoria county which is an adjoining county with Jackson county. It’s on a corridor pathway to Harris county.

Leahy: That’s Houston?

Louderback: Yes.

Leahy: Where a lot of illegals cross the border.

Louderback: Absolutely. It’s long been a corridor of criminality. A major corridor the cartel has used for years for trafficking humans. And of course, Houston is still the number one trafficking hub of the United States. We have long dealt with the issues on the travel paths back and forth from Mexico.

Leahy: Is there crime going on in your county because of the illegal aliens traveling through to get to Harris county?

Louderback: Specifically yes. The answer is yes. The issue that we face or just the traffic stops the narcotics that we seize. The arrest that we make, the human trafficking that we intercept, the bailouts that we experience.

These are all things that alarm the public along US-59 and to some extent down on US-35 which is a lesser-used corridor on the coastline in Jackson county as it comes through this area. But the overall issue is one of a passageway through.

And this is where many of us in this area have combined forces to try and utilize a more efficient work model to do the best we can to intercept all of this type of criminality headed to Harris county and beyond from that point.

Leahy: So how long have you been Sheriff there?

Louderback: Four terms.

Leahy: Four terms. That’s a four-year term?

Louderback: Yes, sir.

Leahy: That’s a long time. Has it gotten worse in your four terms there?

Louderback: Absolutely. Clearly the cartels continue to rise in power. Of course, this is a business and this is about money and they’re very good at making money. They have an unlimited budget versus a government that has a very sparse budget especially at the county level and city level.

For rural Texas, as the traverses areas, we struggle to do what we can. And that’s where partnerships with other counties come in place with state and federal authorities in order to help us.

Leahy: Are there any changes in federal law that you would like to see that would make it easier to do your job?

Louderback: Probably, an expansion possibly. One of the things that’s an issue is if you work a 77 or 59 corridor and you make traffic stops you will run into illegal aliens and you will run into the types of criminality that we experience on a daily basis. So one of the things that I’ve long thought would be advantageous for a Deputy is to have some unilateral authority in certain areas.

I’m not looking for full-blown immigration status but for us to be able to enforce any type of immigration law we need customs and border patrol or ICE to help us in that respect. And we are a partner with those folks. But an expansion possibly of 287-G.

Leahy: Now tell us what 287-G does.

Louderback: 287-G is the part of INA.

Leahy: Immigration Naturalization Act.

Louderback: Yes. That allows local authorities to partner with the federal government and therefore augment the federal government and be allowed to help legally and do certain things.

Leahy: So for instance, what would be one of the things you would like to be able to do that you can’t do currently.

Louderback: Currently, I am a 287-G partner in the jail only in the corrections field. So we do have that authority there to put detainers on and work closely with ICE to coordinate that.

Leahy: So if you get a judicial detainer from an immigration judge from ICE and you have somebody in your custody you hold them and then you don’t release them to custody but you release them to an ICE agent. Is that how it works?

Louderback: We do.

Leahy: What else would you like to see?

Louderback: I’d like to see where we have limited authority to at least detain and hold for ICE as enforcement on. I’d like to explore those avenues to see the feasibility of that. A tactical model.

Leahy: In other words, to be more proactive is what you’re saying right? If you see somebody who’s an illegal alien engaged in illegal activities to be able to arrest them on charges that you wouldn’t necessary arrest them under.

Louderback: Well, what I’m looking for is an efficient model where we could at least take those folks and hold them for ICE at that time. Hold those for customs and border patrol at that time.

Leahy: You can’t do that now?

Louderback: No. There’s a limited authority in that respect for us to do that.

Leahy: Just give me an example of when you weren’t able to do that you wanted to do that recently.

Louderback: Let’s take for example a common traffic stop for speeding. And when walking up to the vehicle we have folks who will step out of the vehicle and say I’m here illegally or can’t speak English.

And it becomes very apparent very quickly from 30 seconds to a minute with the officer’s engagement with the person that they’re not here in this county. And so from that point on we simply have to call customs and border patrol to deal with that issue.

Leahy: So you can’t take them into custody?

Louderback: No.

Leahy: Really?

Louderback: No.

Leahy: You’re kidding me.

Louderback: No.

Leahy: Well obviously that’s got to be changed. What needs to happen and be changed?

Louderback: Congress would be one avenue.

Leahy: Is there a bill before Congress right now on that?

Louderback: No. the 287-G program expansion in a tactical…

Leahy: Would you like to see a bill for that?

Louderback: A bill would help but it’s not necessary I don’t believe.

Leahy: Oh, you can do it. You just need administrative release.

Louderback: In the INA.

Listen to the end of the first hour:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 am to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Sheriff AJ Louderback” by Sheriff AJ Louderback. Background Photo “Jackson County Courthouse” by Billy Hathorn. CC BY-SA 3.0.






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