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House Bill Would Make It State Crime to Cross into Arizona Illegally

Rep. Joseph Chaplik, R-Scottsdale. flickr.com
Rep. Joseph Chaplik, R-Scottsdale. flickr.com

By: Cameron Arcand | The Center Square

Arizona House Republicans saying they are in full support of a bill that would make it illegal to enter the state through an illegal entry point, and Democrats are concerned about legal implications.

House Bill 2748 would make it a class 1 misdemeanor come into the state illegally, and it would go up to a class 6 felony if it happens multiple times. It would also ask that those in Arizona illegally leave or face a class 2 felony charge.

On Monday, it passed the House Military and Public Safety Committee in an 8-7 vote along party lines.

According to a news release, the bill is modeled after Texas Senate Bill 4. That legislation is dealing with a federal court battle, among other policies in Texas aimed at taking state action on the border crisis, Texas Public Radio reported.

“Under the Biden administration, the consistent refusal to enforce our nation’s federal immigration laws has led to an unprecedented surge of illegal immigration across our southern border, constituting a historic invasion," Rep. Joseph Chaplik, R-Scottsdale, said in a statement.

"Despite the legislature’s repeated calls for action, President Biden and Congress has failed to address this crisis. This dereliction of duty has allowed open-border policies to prevail, undermining the rule of law," he added.

In the committee hearing, Rep. Marcelino Quiñonez, D-Phoenix, questioned the bill, which Republicans say was the result of calls for action from border sheriffs.

“We know this bill is unconstitutional, but we are going through this exercise for talking points," the lawmaker said.

"This is not serious policy. Texas is going through it, it's going through the court," he added.

Critics has also said the legislation that harkens back to Senate Bill 1070, a controversial immigration bill that was signed into law by former Republican Gov. Jan Brewer in 2010 that later had some parts stripped by the United States Supreme Court, according to the Arizona Republic.

In addition, the bill would give state government workers and officials civil immunity for following the specific law. In it's legislative findings section, it says the Biden administration is guilty of "gross dereliction of duty" when it comes to the ongoing migrant surge at the southern border.

"The Arizona Legislature has demanded that the Arizona Governor and the Arizona Attorney General take executive action and hold President Biden accountable in court to protect Arizona's citizens and its 4 sovereignty, but they have refused to do so," the bill states.

The bill would ultimately need a signature from Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs in order to become law.

Related Story: Texas House Approves New Funding for Border Wall, Makes Illegal Entry a State Crime

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