I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and are looking forward to a blessed Christmas season. We continue to be had at work at your State Capitol with the fourth called special session.
I have tried to keep you as informed as possible about the ongoing sessions of your state legislature throughout the continuing special sessions called by Governor Abbott. As you may remember, since the conclusion of the regular 88th Texas Legislative Session in May, we have been addressing many various critical issues facing our great state.
The 4th called special legislative session, which commenced on November 7th, was primarily focused on matters vital to our education system and the ongoing efforts to defend our southern border despite the federal government’s complete failure of their duty. Governor Abbott tasked the Legislature with taking up matters concerning public education and further addressing the escalating challenges at our border. Two pieces of legislation are now headed to the Governor’s desk, to create a state offense for illegal entry into Texas and allocating further funds for the construction of our own state border wall. While Joe Biden and Washington DC continue to fail, Texas continues to use our own resources to stand in the gap.
One significant piece of legislation, SB 4, which I proudly co-sponsored, has been successfully passed by both the House and Senate. This bill creates a state criminal offense for illegal entry from a foreign nation and authorizes Texas law enforcement officers to detain and arrest individuals for illegal entry into our state. SB 4 creates new procedures that will ensure every illegal crosser arrested is fingerprinted and receives a background check. After appearing before a local magistrate or judge, the illegal border crosser will be taken to a port of entry and ordered to return to the foreign nation from which the person illegally entered from. This legislation will hold these individuals accountable for refusing to comply with orders to return. Penalties include imprisonment for up to 20 years, reflecting our commitment to safeguarding the integrity of our borders.
Furthermore, SB 3, which I co-sponsored, has also passed both chambers. This bill appropriates an additional $1.54 billion for the construction, maintenance, and operation of our state’s border wall. During the regular session, we allocated $5.1 billion to defend our border, and as the state progresses in constructing our wall, additional funding becomes necessary. As we continue our efforts on our southern border via border barriers, more law enforcement presence, and improved technology to detect and apprehend illegal crossers, additional funding is imperative as the crisis worsens. It is regrettable that Texas must bear this financial burden, but until the federal government fulfills its duty, we must act in the best interest of our citizens. I share your frustration and emphasize the urgency of electing a Republican leader to the White House next November who will prioritize border security and alleviate the strain on our state’s resources.
In closing, I want to express my gratitude for the privilege of serving as your State Representative for House District 16 during the regular legislative session and the four special sessions this year. As we enter the season of celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I wish all of you the blessings of health, hope for the future, and cherished time with loved ones.