Texas Senate panel OKs bill creating penalties for illegal immigration

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Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, right, is the Senate sponsor of House Bill 4, which would create state criminal penalties for illegally entering the U.S. and allows law enforcement officers to hand over to federal authorities anyone suspected of coming into the country outside of a legal port of entry.

The Texas Senate Committee on Border Security advanced legislation Wednesday meant to curb illegal immigration by creating state criminal penalties for illegally entering the U.S. and allows law enforcement officers to hand over to federal authorities anyone suspected of coming into the country outside of a legal port of entry.

However, the Senate panel has changed House Bill 4, the proposal the lower chamber passed last week, with Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, reworking language that previously allowed state police to turn back through a port of entry anyone accused of being in the country illegally or charge them with a felony charge for noncompliance.

Birdwell, the bill’s sponsor in the Senate and chair of the Border Security Committee, said he expects the full Senate to take up HB 4 on Sunday. 

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