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Texas immigration bill allowing local police to arrest migrants clears state house


The Texas state House of Representatives passed three bills Thursday morning intended to bolster border security. 

One bill sets aside over $1 billion to construct border barriers, and the second increases sentences for human trafficking.

The third — known as House Bill 4 — would allow local police to arrest and deport illegal migrants.

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Rio Grande Texas migrants

Migrants surrender to Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas. (Jordan Vonderhaar/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The bills have been divisive in state politics, sparking debate that lasted for hours between Wednesday and Thursday. 

State Rep. Cody Harris of Palestine motioned to block new amendments, ending debate before the bill ultimately passed with a vote of 84-60.

“It hurts us to our f–king core,” state Rep. Armando Lucio Walle of Houston told Harris after the Republican successfully ended discussion of the bill. “And you don’t understand that. You don’t live in our skin. And that’s what pisses me off.”

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Border Patrol texas bus

A Border Patrol watches as migrants from Texas step off a bus in San Diego, California. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

The bill aims to re-empower Texas officers to handle illegal immigration directly, despite rulings by federal courts that gave jurisdiction of the border to the federal government.

The bill will now head to the state Senate, where Republicans maintain a similarly commanding majority and are expected to approve the legislation.

“It is a humane, logical and efficient approach,” state Rep. David Spille from Fort Worth said of the bill.

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Eagles Pass Texas migrants

Asylum seekers wait to be processed by U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico into the United States in Eagle Pass, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)

He added, “There is nothing unfair about ordering someone back from where they came if they arrived here illegally.”

The Biden administration announced new border numbers for September, which marked the highest number of monthly encounters and records, meaning FY 23 as a whole has seen the most yearly encounters on record.

Meanwhile, the administration recently doubled down on its opposition to border walls after citing an “acute and immediate” need to waive federal regulations to allow construction in South Texas.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.



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