Bill Heading To Texas Governor’s Desk Allows Arrests, Deportations Of Illegal Migrants

The Texas House approved the bill Tuesday evening.
EL PASO, TEXAS - MAY 12: Immigrants wait to be transported and processed by U.S. Border Patrol officers at the U.S.-Mexico border on May 12, 2023 in El Paso, Texas. The U.S. Covid-era Title 42 immigration policy ended the night before, and migrants entering the system now are anxious over how the change may affect their asylum claims. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
John Moore/Getty Images

A bill currently heading to Governor Greg Abbott’s (R) desk would allow Texas to arrest and deport certain illegal migrants.

The bill, Senate Bill 4, would authorize all police in Texas to arrest migrants suspected of crossing the border illegally. The bill makes entering the country illegally a new state misdemeanor punishable by up to two years.

A judge could then order migrants who were arrested to be deported.

The Texas House approved the bill Tuesday evening.

Abbott is expected to sign the bill, which would be one of the nation’s strictest immigration laws if it goes into effect.

The bill would apply only to recent migrant arrivals, not residents who have lived in the U.S. for more than two years, according to state Representative David Spiller (R), one of the Republicans who supports the bill.

Also, arresting officers would need evidence that a migrant had entered the country illegally, so the law would be “almost impossible” to enforce in the more northern parts of Texas, Steven McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said.

“It’d be a stretch,” McCraw told lawmakers.


State Democrats accused Republicans who supported the bill of being “racist.”

“It’s not all right to be racist. I will stop pulling the race card when you stop being racist,” state Representative Jolanda Jones (D) said Tuesday before the House vote approving the bill.

The floods of migrants crossing the southern border in recent months has led to a crisis up north.

Cities like New York City and Chicago are scrambling to metabolize the thousands of migrants who have shown up since last year.

In New York City, more than 130,000 migrants have arrived since last year, many of whom are still being housed on the city’s dime, causing homeless shelters to reach their limits and forcing the city to open new facilities.

Mayor Eric Adams said over the summer that the migrant crisis could cost New York City $12 billion over three years.

Chicago has been scrambling to respond to an illegal migrant crisis before the cold winter months arrive. The country’s third-largest city has experienced an influx of more than 18,500 migrants recently, many from Venezuela.

Chicago is working to build massive winterized camps for newly arrived migrants, many of whom slept on the floors of police stations or airports for months. The city has already spent at least $250 million on the issue so far.

There are currently between 16.8 million and 29 million illegal migrants living in the country, according to a report this week from House Republicans that cited numbers from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Yale University.

About 3.8 million of those migrants have entered the country under the Biden administration, the data indicates.

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