Texas Lawmakers Push for Increased Penalties for Border Crossers

(TotalConservative.com) – Texas lawmakers want to make illegally crossing the border from Mexico a state felony and to form a new state unit of officers to help arrest migrants who enter the country at locations that aren’t designated entry ports.

One of the bills, which was introduced by Republican Sen. Brian Birdwell to the state Senate, would make crossing into Texas illegally in order to avoid the legal proceedings of immigration a state felony. The Texas Tribune reports that violators could face one to two years in jail after a second violation, and “life in prison if they had been previously convicted of a felony.”

House Bill 20, which was introduced by Texas Republican Rep. Matt Shaefer, would establish a “Border Protection Unit” who have the authority to “arrest, detain, and deter” anyone attempting to illegally cross the border “including with the use of non-deadly force.” In order to serve in the unit, one must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent legal resident, as well as have prior experience in law enforcement.

The bill would also make serving officers immune “from criminal and civil liability for any actions taken that are authorized” under the law. The unit’s chief officer may also invite civilians without felony charges on their records to be a part of “unit operations and functions” but without the authority to arrest unless trained and authorized to do so by the governor.

Those arrested crossing illegally face up to a decade in prison and $10,000 in fines.

The bill will still have to pass both legislative chambers in Texas, although with a Republican majority, it will most likely go through, serving as an extension of efforts by Texas Gov. Greg Abbot to control the border situation.

Under President Joe Biden, the border crisis seems to only be getting worse, with many migrants being released into the country after turning themselves into U.S. Border Patrol. In the fiscal year 2021, there were over 1.7 million migrant encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border and over 2.3 million in FY 2022. There have already been over a million encounters for FY 2023, from October until now.

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