Texas GOP Plans Border Protection with Untrained Citizens, Alarming Democrats

The latest legislation in Texas, HB 20, has sparked concern among critics who claim it will allow “roaming vigilantes” to detain and arrest individuals crossing the border illegally. The proposed bill would establish a new “Border Protection Unit” in the state, granting its officers the power to question, arrest, and detain people they suspect of crossing the border illegally, regardless of whether they are trained or experienced in law enforcement. The Mexican American Legislative Caucus has described this new border unit as a group of “untrained civilians” who could set up checkpoints throughout the state and harass American citizens, asking them to prove their citizenship without consequences.

The new bill’s sponsor is Rep. Matt Schaeffer, R-Tyler, but despite numerous invititations to appear on a news program like “Inside Texas Politics”, he has declined each one, citing a lack of availability. The Border Protection Unit’s officers would also enjoy greater immunity from criminal and civil liability for any authorized actions they take, including questioning, arresting, and repelling individuals crossing the border illegally. This provision has alarmed some Republicans, including Representative Neave Criado, who is herself a Democrat. Representative Neave Criado claims that allowing vigilantism throughout Texas would only create bottlenecks for existing law enforcement, and that it could discourage police recruitment efforts in the state.

HB 20 has provoked a lot of criticism from immigrant advocates, who feel that the proposed bill will unfairly target certain groups based on their perceived status. These groups claim that the Border Protection Unit’s officers will be largely unaccountable and could abuse their power quickly in ways that would harm innocent people. On the other hand, supporters of HB 20 argue that the bill would help combat illegal immigration, which they believe threatens national security and American jobs.

The concerns raised by critics regarding the bill’s scope and potential for abuse are likely to be the subject of heated debates in the coming weeks. The State Affairs committee in Texas recently held a hearing on HB 20 on April 13, but the bill is currently pending, and no decision has been made yet. The bill’s implications are significant and far-reaching, as the proposed measure would impact Texans across the entire state, regardless of whether they live near the border or not. As a result, the ultimate decision regarding HB 20 will undoubtedly have major consequences for all Texans, including how they are policed and what their civil liberties will be.

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