Texas to criminalize illegal border crossings

The state measure clashes with federal law, setting up almost certain litigation.
Migrants who crossed into the U.S. from Mexico are met with concertina wire along the Rio Grande, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Eagle Pass, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Texas will become the first state in America to make crossing the border from Mexico a state crime and to empower judges to order first-time offenders to return there in lieu of prosecution, after the state House approved the measure in a final vote on Tuesday.

The bill would establish illegal entry as misdemeanor offenses and illegal reentry as a felony, with the severity of punishment increasing if the person was previously removed from the country for committing a felony.

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