First-time offenders who illegally cross the United States-Mexico border and are detained, are mostly charged with a misdemeanor offense. The illegal crossing is not a felony, but a new Republican bill in Congress would change that.
The bill, introduced by Congresswoman Diane Black, would make crossing the border illegally a felony offense and, she claims, would help to deter people from illegally entering the country.
“The United States government should never prioritize illegal immigrants over American citizens,” Black said, as Fox News reports. “By no longer creating incentives to come to our country unlawfully, we also discourage families from sending their children on an often dangerous journey to reach our southern border.”
“We are a compassionate nation and we are a country filled with compassionate people. I’ve been abroad and I’ve seen the hardships that people go through, but we’ve got to have some kind of control and order,” she continued.
In a tweet about the bill, Black said: “It is utterly ridiculous that a speeding ticket and ILLEGALLY crossing the U.S. border can result in the same consequences – a misdemeanor. My bill makes first-time illegal entry a felony.”
Dubbed the “Zero Tolerance for Illegal Entry Act,” Black’s bill would also mandate employers use the E-Verify system to ensure employees are in the country legally and allowed to work in the U.S. Additionally, it redirects funding from so-called sanctuary citiesto the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
“It’s so simple,” Black said of her bill. “It just takes some of the [issues] we’ve talked about for years and puts it all in one bill.”
The congresswoman’s new border security push comes on the heels of the Justice Department’s enforcement of its own “zero-tolerance” policy, which was first introduced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April.
Here’s even more on the bill’s contents from her House website:
“The United States government should never prioritize illegal immigrants over American citizens. We must have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to illegal border crossings and sanctuary cities, and we must give ICE the resources they need to do their job as they protect our nation. By no longer creating incentives to come to our country unlawfully, we also discourage families from sending their children on an often dangerous journey to reach our southern border.
The Zero Tolerance for Illegal Entry Act works hand in hand with law enforcement to ensure that we are doing all we can to uphold the dignity of our border. President Trump has been clear about illegal immigration from day one, and we know that he is committed to protecting our nation for future generations. We must do all we can to deter the criminal abuse of our border – it has gone on for far too long.”
Black’s proposal quickly got some support from people online:
The United States is federal property. Trespassing on federal property is a felony already.
— Jeff Bullock (@JefferyEBullock) July 12, 2018
Brilliant! Should’ve done it ages ago. That is the way it should be. Trump for the win !
— Robba Roberts (@RobbaRoberts) July 12, 2018
It needs to pass!
— Nikki (@KatieLee205) July 12, 2018
Good. That’s music to my ears. Let’s hope it passes.
— Eric Reid (@realEricReid) July 12, 2018
Yes please. Except jail them in their own country so the US taxpayers aren’t paying for them.
— Stephanie Emmeline (@merbabemamii) July 12, 2018
It should have been this way all along. It is a criminal act!
— Anin Essoh (@AninEssoh) July 13, 2018