In a rebuke to the Biden administration's open border policy, Texas Republicans have voted to make illegal immigration a criminal offense under state law.
The new legislation would create a new state crime, "improper entry from [a] foreign nation," to deal with the historic surge of illegal immigrants storming the southern border.
The bill's Republican sponsor, state senator Brian Birdwell, said Texas "had to fill the gaps" left by Biden's dereliction of duty.
Immigration enforcement falls under the purview of the federal government, but Biden has aggressively scaled back arrests and deportations, leading Republicans to accuse him of shirking his constitutional duty. Some have threatened to impeach him.
Senate Bill 2424 reflects rising exasperation with Biden's inaction. The bill would empower Texas police to arrest immigrants who are in the country unlawfully.
Birdwell said the bill, which passed in an 18-12 vote, is "carefully tailored to avoid intruding on federal immigration enforcement authority."
Repeat offenders under the law could be brought up on felony charges.
“Texas peace officers would not be enforcing federal immigration laws, but rather a new state-level crime created by the bill: illegal entry into Texas from a foreign nation," he said.
As soon as he entered the White House, Biden moved aggressively to wind down the strict immigration policies of President Trump, with predictable consequences: over the past two years, illegal immigration and drug trafficking have surged to historic highs.
Texas has already taken steps to pick up the slack with Operation Lone Star, a state border enforcement operation that has led to 367,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions and more than 27,000 criminal arrests, according to Governor Greg Abbott (R).
Democrat Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa said he agrees that Biden isn't doing enough, but he warned arresting more illegal immigrants will lead to overcrowding in already stressed jails and "a mess along the border."
It's hard to imagine that the current mess could get much worse, but believe it or not, it actually can. The administration is anticipating an unprecedented surge of 13,000 immigrants a day, or 400,000 a month, when it moves to end the critical Trump-era Title 42 policy in May.
Border crossings have already begun to rebound after falling during the first two months of this year. How long will Biden continue to pretend that everything is fine?