A $1.8 billion border security bill was passed by the Texas Senate on Wednesday, allowing Texas Border Patrol to enact stronger measures to defend against illegal immigration.
The bill, which will facilitate a plan byGov. Greg Abbott (R), will allow for the installation of more than 700 miles of border barrier, according to a report in The Washington Examiner.
H.B. 9 passed by a vote of 23-8 Wednesday afternoon after an agreement was reached on changes from the House of Representatives version of the bill.
As it stands currently, this is the largest-ever border security package of its kind to clear the state Legislature, according to the Examiner, and with a clear path to the Governor’s desk, it’s considered as good as done.
“It is a historic, huge effort by the state of Texas,” said Ken Oliver, senior director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Right on Immigration initiative.
Rep. Greg Bonnen (R) introduced the bill to fund Abbott’s June proposal for border security and it passed the Senate Finance Committee with the support of all three Democratic members of the committee.
The almost $2 billion in this bill is additional funding to the $1 billion that the Legislature approved in the spring of this year for border security that will be dolled out over the next two years.
Of this funding, more than $32 million is allocated for legal proceedings in county courts where illegal immigrants are meant to be tried for trespassing, and human smugglers are prosecuted for trading non-Americans into the country.
Currently, the state has identified 733 miles of border-front land where it can build fencing which will be carried out by the Texas National Guard, according to the Examiner.