Several complementary bills were filed in the Texas Legislature on Friday that aim to strengthen the state’s ability to secure its border with Mexico amid rampant unlawful migration.
Texas Representative Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) filed HB 20, the Border Protection Unit Act, which creates a dedicated Border Protection Unit within the Texas Department of Public Safety to provide locally oriented enforcement of border security laws.
Should the act pass, it would also designate trespassing on private property while entering the state of Texas as a third-degree felony.
This bill “will take a bold new approach to addressing the border crisis in Texas,” according to Schaefer.
Another bill, HB 7, filed by Texas Rep. Ryan Guillen (R-Rio Grande City), would create a designated state fund to financially compensate people who live near the border whose property is damaged by someone unlawfully entering the state from Mexico.
The same bill would provide funding for the construction and maintenance of walls and other barriers along the border and create “border region specialty courts” to “handle all issues arising under Chapter 51, Penal Code, and related border issues.”
Meanwhile, Texas Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) filed a bill that would create a new state crime for entering Texas illegally and authorize state law enforcement to arrest and prosecute anyone who crosses the border unlawfully anywhere in Texas, according to a press release by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick sent to The Dallas Express.
This new state crime would be punishable with up to one year in jail for first-time offenders and two years in jail for second-time offenders. Convicted felons who unlawfully cross the border could face life in prison.
Lt. Gov. Patrick said in the press release that this bill would empower the state “to truly protect our border, as the Federal government has completely abdicated its constitutional responsibility.”
“The Texas Senate’s dedication to securing our southern border is unwavering, and our commitment is exhibited by the $4 billion in our base budget to continue Operation Lone Star,” he said.
This bill has received backing from groups throughout the state that support stricter border policies, including the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF).
TPPF Chief of Intelligence and Research Joshua Trevino told The Dallas Express this bill “would be a tremendous aid” in exercising the state’s “expansive Constitutional authority to secure our border and our communities.”
In recent days, Texas Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) has also filed three bills and one resolution relating to border security, including an act that would increase state penalties for unlawful migrants who commit crimes in the state of Texas.
In a Friday evening press release, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan commended the sponsors of the various border security bills, asserting that “Addressing our state’s border and humanitarian crisis is a must-pass issue for the Texas House this year.”
Earlier this month, eight members of the Texas congressional delegation in D.C. signed onto legislation that would require the federal government to reimburse Texas for border security costs. Introduced by Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) on March 1, the Lone Star Reimbursement Act has since been referred to the Armed Services, Homeland Security, and Judiciary Committees, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
However, some Texas Democrats believe the persistent Republican emphasis on border security is unwarranted.
“It’s an open sore that Republicans have picked at all day long,” said Matt Angle, founder of the Lone Star Project, a Democratic research group, per The Dallas Morning News.
“It’s the crisis they crave,” Angle continued. “They have poured money and resources into border security and have not taken responsibility for the failure.”
In response to Rep. Schaefer’s bill, the chairman of the Democratic Caucus, Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, reportedly said, “HB 20 is a tinderbox waiting to explode that will leave this Session in flames. House Republicans have been warned.”
How I spent 5 billion dollars and got nothing for it, By Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick.
Does that mean Washington DC, New York, and Chicago will get reimbursed for the “migrants” bused to them?
Abbott is No Desantis, that’s for sure. Stop voting for him and let’s get a real conservative in there. Angle said the border is an open sore that the republicans have picked at. Yes. Glad he admits that the border is open and a sore spot.
These bills are all well and good, but more needed. Contruction of the border wall should continue. The wall should built to whatever standard and height is required to sufficiently protect Texas and our legal residents from this criminal onslaught. Whatever they are fleeing in Mexico or Guatemala or elsewhere is not legal justification to be able to enter our country and be allowed to suck our country dry.
The wall is irrelevant now. Texas has declared a constitutionally defined invasion by foreign entities exists. This invokes the US constitution and invokes all the other states to send military aid to DEFEND the border as a war zone. There is no other possible definition to the Constitution.
Secession is the only answer that makes sense IF the US Government does not CLOSE the border by defending it against invasion just as if it was a WAR. It is a WAR, of human trafficking, drugs and organized crime.
Under secession, Texas could militarily close the entire length of the border in three days. Notify Mexico day one. Day two send men and material as well as military vehicles. Day three, Defend the border from ANY crossing under any circumstance, no one allowed to enter at all. Close it completely until Mexico agrees that no unlawful crossing shall happen and that Mexico will pay for all repatriation and costs of illegals.
I guaranty that Mexico will agree within about 3 weeks. They need us, we do NOT need them in the end.