The Texas Senate has passed House Bill 7, proposed by Rep. Ryan Guillen, R-Rio Grande City, bringing the creation of the Texas Border Force one step closer to becoming law. The force, under the direction of the Texas Rangers, will focus on border and immigration enforcement. The bill includes provisions that make it a state crime to enter Texas illegally from Mexico and establishes a minimum 10-year sentence for human smuggling.
The Texas Border Force’s responsibilities include preventing unauthorized immigration through non-lethal means, intelligence gathering, and coordination with other state agencies. The force members would be authorized to conduct traffic stops and establish road checkpoints within a 30-mile radius of the border for safety and contraband inspections. Only commissioned peace officers would have the authority to make arrests and carry or use a weapon, while noncommissioned officers would serve in supporting roles.
The bill allows for the Texas Military Department and former members of the U.S. Border Patrol to be part of the force. Additionally, entering Texas from Mexico at a location other than a port of entry would become a state crime, with potential penalties ranging from a class A misdemeanor to a felony.