Lawmakers discuss border laws ahead of Title 42 expiration.

Republican lawmakers at both the federal and state level are attempting to pass border-related legislation as migrants continue to flood the border ahead of Title 42’s expiration. The situation has led to a heated political debate with various interest groups expressing divergent views on the issue.

Rep. Matt Schaefer, author of House Bill 20, believes that Texas must take action to prevent violent cartels from treating migrants like merchandise and perpetrating countless homicides through the use of fentanyl poisonings. According to him, the state must take charge of the border and bring order between the ports of entry.

In Austin, several bills were approved by the House earlier this week, including House Bill 7, which was amended to include sections of HB 20. This bill would fund court systems on the border and establish a “border protection unit.” It has caused heated debate among lawmakers, with some expressing concern about its constitutionality and potential risks to public safety.

Bernardo Rafael Cruz, an attorney at the ACLU of Texas, believes that such bills are unconstitutional and will endanger public safety. He says that certain politicians are treating a humanitarian situation like a war zone and failing to recognize the humanity in immigrants.

On May 11, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its own border security measure. U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat from Austin, highlighted the need for rules for orderly immigration to ensure fairness. However, he criticized Republicans for blocking such measures in Congress for years.

Governor Abbott announced earlier this week the deployment of a new national guard unit called the “Texas Tactical Border Force” to assist border patrol along with DPS troopers. The deployment aims to intercept, repel and turn back migrants attempting to enter Texas illegally.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas clarified that the lifting of the Title 42 public health order does not indicate the border is open. Instead, it means that the use of immigration enforcement authorities under Title 8 of the United States Code will apply, leading to more severe consequences for people who cross the border illegally. Under Title 8, an individual who is removed will be subject to at least a five-year bar on re-entry and could face criminal prosecution if they attempt to cross again.

The issue of border control continues to provoke emotional debate and differing opinions, with lawmakers and interest groups expressing different ideas on how best to manage it.

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