Texas Governor Greg Abbott just signed into law a historic package of border security legislation that will greatly expand the power that Texas law enforcement officers have to go after illegal immigrants and the border chaos, such as human smuggling and repeated attempts to cross the border.
The three laws that Gov. Abbott signed as part of the border package are Senate Bill 4 from Special Session #3, Senate Bill 3 from Special Session #4, and Senate Bill 4 from Special Session #4. Together, the bills aim to assist in securing the border and cracking down on smuggling, while also deterring future border crossings and protecting Texans and their property.
SB 4 from Special Session #3 cracks down on smuggling and smugglers, creating a ten-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for those who smuggle persons. It also enhances criminal penalties for those operating the stash houses in which smuggled persons are housed, creating a five year mandatory minimum for those stash house operators, and expands criminal penalties for those who commit other felonies while engaging in smuggling.
SB 3 from Special Session #4 will be used to help Texas build its border wall. It appropriates $1.54 billion in revenue for the use of conducting border security operations and constructing, maintaining, and defending a border barrier with Mexico.
And, expanding the state’s battle against illegal immigration, SB 4 from Special Session #4 makes entry into Texas from a foreign nation a criminal offense, thus giving Texas law enforcement more reasons to go after illegal immigrants. It also allows the state to lock up those who repeatedly try to cross the border for up to twenty years. And, making deportations easier, it creates a mechanism to force offenders to leave Texas and return to the foreign nation from which they came.
Speaking about the law in a press release issued by his office, Gov. Abbott tore into Biden’s border policies, saying, “Four years ago, the United States had the fewest illegal border crossings in decades. It was because of four policies put in place by the Trump Administration that led to such a low number of illegal crossings. President Biden has eliminated all of those policies and done nothing to halt illegal immigration.”
Continuing, Abbott argued that Team Biden’s inaction forced Texas to act, saying, “President Biden’s deliberate inaction has left Texas to fend for itself. Today, I will sign three laws to better protect Texas—and America—from President Biden’s border neglect. These laws will help stop the tidal wave of illegal entry into Texas, add additional funding to build more border wall, and crackdown on human smuggling.”
Texas Lt. Governor Patrick commented on the bills as well, saying, “As Lieutenant Governor, securing the southern border has been one of my biggest priorities since first being elected in 2006. Since I took office as Lieutenant Governor, Texas has increased border security funding more than any time in history. It has never been more clear that Texas must step into the breach created by the border security liars and deniers Biden, Harris, and Mayorkas, and the signing of these three bills is indicative of the Texas Senate and my commitment to stemming the flow of illegal immigration and a strong southern border.”
Featured image credit: Office of Gov. Abbott
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