Border Security Bills Sail Through Texas House

AUSTIN – Several border security bills co-authored by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) passed out of the Texas House of Representatives on Wednesday. The legislative package includes House Bill 4, House Bill 6 and Senate Bill 4, which passed out of the lower chamber by votes of 84-60, 84-61, and 92-54, respectively. HB 4 and HB 6 will now go to the Texas Senate for consideration while SB 4, having already received approval from both chambers, heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

“It is up to the Texas legislature to step up where the Biden administration has failed, and that is exactly what we’re doing here today,” Landgraf said. “The legislation we passed today will play a crucial role in our state’s on-going efforts to secure the border. The state must act when the lives and property of Texans are at stake, so I’m proud of the work we’ve done here today, but I’ve got to be honest, I’m sick and tired of Texas having to clean up Biden’s messes. Whether it’s the open border, weaponizing federal agencies to curb oil and gas production, or any number of other failures, the Biden administration continues to prioritize the whims of a few coastal elites over the rights, freedoms and safety of American citizens, especially Texans. Thankfully, leaders in Texas are taking a different approach, with Governor Abbott and Speaker Phelan continually stepping up to prioritize border security.”

HB 4 makes illegal entry into the US a state-level offense so Texas law enforcement can order those entering illegally to return to their country. HB 6 allocates $1.5 billion to build the border wall, which is in addition to the $5.1 billion included in the state budget passed earlier this year to secure the Texas-Mexico border, of which $650 million was set aside to continue construction of physical barriers. Finally, SB 4 raises the mandatory minimum sentences for human smuggling and the operation of a stash house. Landgraf is a co-author of HB 4 and HB 6, and a co-sponsor of SB 4. Landgraf also voted to support the increase in border security funding provided in the 2024-2025 state budget to station Texas military and DPS Troopers on the border, build a wall, install floating buoys and razor wire, and operate thousands of cameras along with other border security measures. Additionally, Landgraf supported successful legislation from the regular session that designated drug cartels as terrorist organizations and increased penalties on fentanyl smuggling that is coming across the border.

“Unlike President Biden, Governor Abbott and Speaker Phelan make routine trips to the border,” Landgraf continued. “I’ve also made a few trips to see things for myself, most recently doing so earlier this month in the midst of one of the biggest surges of illegal border crossings in history. I’ve seen how bad it is with my own eyes, and this most recent trip was the worst I’ve ever seen it. Until something changes in Washington, D.C., the state of Texas must keep doing everything we can to limit the damage of Biden’s border crisis. My commitment to secure the border remains steadfast and I’m proud to report that our state has never been better equipped to get the job done.”

Landgraf and the other members of the Texas legislature convened at the Texas Capitol building on October 9 for a special legislative session called by Governor Abbott. Special sessions of the Texas legislature can only be called by the governor and can last no longer than 30 days. Earlier this year, members of the Texas House and Senate met for a constitutionally required 140-day regular session to vote on legislation and pass a balanced state budget.