HB 7, the Revised Border Protection Unit Act, Watered Down in Senate Border Security Committee

As we explained in last week’s newsletter,  HB 20, the Border Unit Protection Act, was recently killed by way of a point of order brought forth by a Democrat and sustained by Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont).

Shortly after, HB 7, a border infrastructure bill, was used to revive important parts of HB 20 through the amendment process. This kept important provisions of the bill alive as it headed to the Texas Senate. Unfortunately, by the time HB 7 left committee, it was weaker than its original counterpart and weaker than the status quo, Operation Lone Star. Following the passage of HB 7 by the House, TFSB called on legislators in the Senate Border Security Committee to make changes to the bill that would make it stronger.

These changes included the following:

  • Enact a legislative finding that there is an ongoing invasion at the Texas border, citing Section I, Article 10, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution
  • Giving the Border Protection Unit (BPU) explicit statutory authority to repel and remove illegal aliens under that finding
  • Remove the approval of operations from the behest of Commissioners Courts located in counties along the Texas-Mexico border
  • Allow for a wider range of individuals with a law enforcement background to join the BPU

The committee responded by acknowledging only the latter two items. Additionally, they removed language (that was already limited) granting the BPU some authority to repel and remove those trying to enter Texas illegally, and put the BPU under the authority of the Texas Rangers. 

Note: As of 2020, the Texas Rangers employed 166 commissioned officers.

This information leaves us wondering how such a small division of law enforcement will secure a border with over five million illegal crossings since Joe Biden took office? And how will those efforts succeed without the explicit authority to repel and remove the invaders unlawfully entering our country and state?

Texans for Strong Borders is working with other grassroots organizations to call on the Texas Senate to make this right, to restore strong legislation to the bill, and to empower the Border Protection Unit with the authority and resources necessary to actually secure the Texas Border.

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