Texas Senate Pushes Border Security, While Texas House Lags Behind

October 19, 2023
Andrew McVeigh
88th Legislative Session, Illegal Immigration, Texas House, Texas Legislature, Texas Senate

We are now ten days into the third Special Session of the Texas Legislature. While school choice has been a focal point of the session thus far, another major area of concern is the ongoing border crisis and illegal immigration. 

After the entire regular legislative session was wasted earlier this year with little to no meaningful border security legislation passed, Gov. Abbott (R) included several border security-related agenda items on the third special session call. Those items include:

  • “Legislation to do more to reduce illegal immigration by creating a criminal offense for illegal entry into this state from a foreign nation and authorizing all licensed peace officers to remove illegal immigrants from Texas.”
  • “Legislation to impede illegal entry into Texas by increasing the penalties for criminal conduct involving the smuggling of persons or the operation of a stash house.”
  • “Legislation to impede illegal entry into Texas by providing more funding for the construction, operation, and maintenance of border barrier infrastructure.”
  • “Legislation concerning public safety, security, environmental quality, and property ownership in areas like the Colony Ridge development in Liberty County, Texas.”

In just the first four days of the special session, the Texas Senate successfully passed legislation to address the first two items on the list.

SB 4, by Senator Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton), increases penalties and establishes a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for human smuggling and the operation of a stash house. 

SB 11, by Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), creates a new crime for illegally entering Texas from a foreign nation and authorizes law enforcement to arrest and prosecute individuals who illegally cross the border.

Now, a week later, the Texas House has yet to take up the measures on the floor. Both bills were heard in the State Affairs committee, and SB 4 was passed out on Thursday, but SB 11 was still left pending.

It is important to remember that border security and illegal immigration have an extremely high cost and burden to Texas taxpayers, let alone the rest of the country.

Texas spends billions of dollars related to illegal immigration.

Each fiscal year, it is estimated that Texas shells out at least $13 billion of taxpayer money, either subsidizing illegal immigrants or attempting to secure the border. Nationally, that number increases to more than $150 billion per year, with the problem only getting exponentially worse under the Biden Administration. 

Every day the border remains unsecured and illegal immigrant magnets remain in place, the greater the burden will be on Texas taxpayers.  

That’s something they can’t afford.