The Texas House passed a bill that seeks to establish a state law enforcement agency to enforce immigration laws. If the bill passes the Senate and the governor signs it, the legislation will establish the Border Protection Unit to apprehend, arrest or detain people who cross into the United States illegally.
How may this legislation impact immigration in Texas?
What the law does
The law would create the Border Protection Unit and give it the authority to arrest people suspected of being in the country illegally. It would also allow the BPU to “repel” people attempting to cross into the United States. However, there are few specifics about what methods the BPU would be able to use. Instead, the Public Safety Commission will be responsible for regulating the unit.
Arguments for and against the bill
Proponents of the bill cite the growing number of people crossing the border, concerns about smuggling fentanyl into the U.S., actions of aggression by criminal cartels and property damage as reasons to create the BPU. However, opponents fear the unit will only legalize the harassment of minorities in the state.
Additionally, some lawmakers believe the creation of the unit conflicts with federal law and will likely face challenges in court.
It is unclear how the law could impact Texas immigrants if it passes. However, the uncertainty surrounding the potential creation of the Border Protection Unit increases the need for immigrants and minorities in the state to know and exercise their rights when dealing with law enforcement.