In a momentous ceremony at the Texas border wall in Brownsville, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a comprehensive package of border security legislation, marking a pivotal step in Texas’ commitment to fortify its southern border. The transformative measures, passed during Special Session #3 and Special Session #4 of the 88th Texas Legislature, aim to intensify efforts against human smuggling, curb illegal border crossings, and safeguard the lives and property of Texans. The laws allocate funds for the ongoing construction of the state’s border wall.
Governor Abbott emphasized the urgency of these laws, citing a surge in illegal entries following policy changes by the Biden Administration. The three new laws, he stated, would address the void left by the elimination of key Trump-era policies and fortify Texas against the challenges posed by illegal immigration.
“Today, I will sign three laws to better protect Texas—and America—from President Biden’s border neglect. 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,” Governor Abbott stated during the signing ceremony.
At the event, Governor Abbott was joined by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) President Brandon Judd, Adjutant General of Texas Major General Thomas Suelzer, Texas Border Czar Mike Banks, and several state legislators including Senators Pete Flores, Joan Huffman, and Charles Perry, as well as Representatives Ryan Guillen, Jacey Jetton, David Spiller, Mano DeAyala, Stan Kitzman, and Janie Lopez.
Lieutenant Governor Patrick underscored the significance of securing the southern border, emphasizing Texas’ commitment to filling the void left by federal inaction. President Biden’s policies, Patrick argued, necessitated Texas taking a proactive stance to address the challenges posed by illegal immigration.
NBPC President Brandon Judd expressed gratitude for Governor Abbott’s leadership, recognizing the importance of the rule of law in ensuring the safety of all Americans. General Suelzer highlighted the Texas National Guard’s engagement in border security, acknowledging Governor Abbott’s efforts to equip them adequately.
Border Czar Mike Banks commended the Governor for his commitment to defending Texas, particularly in the face of federal negligence. Operation Lone Star, under Governor Abbott’s leadership, has deployed tactical infrastructure to create deterrence along the Texas-Mexico border.
Overview of the Laws:
Senate Bill 4 from Special Session #3 (Flores/Guillen): Creates a mandatory ten-year minimum prison sentence for smuggling persons and continuous smuggling. Enhances criminal penalties for stash house operations, including a mandatory five-year minimum prison sentence. Further enhances penalties for victim-related offenses during smuggling.
Senate Bill 3 from Special Session #4 (Huffman/Jetton): Appropriates $1.54 billion in general revenue for border security operations and the construction, operation, and maintenance of border barrier infrastructure.
Senate Bill 4 from Special Session #4 (Perry/Spiller): Creates a criminal offense for illegal entry into Texas from a foreign nation. Addresses repeated attempts with the offense of illegal reentry, penalizing offenders with up to 20 years in prison. Provides civil immunity and indemnification for government officials and contractors enforcing these provisions.
Governor Abbott’s latest actions build upon the six border security laws enacted in June during the 88th Regular Legislative Session, reinforcing Texas’ commitment to combating the unprecedented challenges posed by illegal immigration, weapons trafficking, and drug smuggling from Mexico.