Greg Abbott signs bill making it a state crime to illegally enter Texas from foreign nation

Governor Abbott said the federal government's failures have "left Texas to fend for itself."

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

On Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a "transformative" package of legislation aimed at securing the section of the border his state shares with Mexico.

The move to deter illegal immigrants from crossing over via physical and legal barriers comes as Texas and the rest of the nation experiences an unprecedented influx of newcomers arriving from the south, with over 7 million illegal immigrants entering the US since Joe Biden took office in 2021.

One of the new laws "cracks down on repeated attempts to enter Texas by creating the offense of illegal reentry," essentially making it a crime punishable at the state level to illegally enter Texas from a foreign nation. Those who break the law can be penalized with up to 20 years in prison.

The law also allows authorities to "order an offender to return to the foreign nation from which the person entered or attempted to enter this state," and, "provides civil immunity and indemnification for local and state government officials, employees, and contractors for lawsuits resulting from the enforcement of these provisions."

In a statement, Gov. Abbott slammed President Biden's "deliberate inaction" on the crisis at the southern border, saying the federal government's failures have "left Texas to fend for itself."

"Today, I will sign three laws to better protect Texas—and America—from President Biden's border neglect," he added. "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."

Other laws in the package include the introduction of a mandatory ten-year minimum prison sentence for anyone caught participating in human smuggling, and increased funding for border security.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre decried the new law, claiming it "does not make the communities in Texas safer" and is "very much in line with what many Republicans like to do or tend to do which is demonize immigrants and also dehumanize immigrants."

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