Illegal Immigration

While there is much work still to be done, conservatives have increased funding for border security and created tougher penalties for document fraud, human trafficking, and employing illegal aliens.

 

House Bill 1196 (80R) Employer Sanctions

House Bill 1196 established that if a business that receives a public subsidy is convicted of employing unauthorized aliens in violation of federal law, the business is required to repay the subsidy with interest.

The bill ensures that lawbreakers (in this case, businesses who are convicted of hiring unauthorized aliens) do not enjoy the benefits of receiving public subsidies. In that sense, HB 1196 guarantees that public monies have not subsidized criminal activity, and creates a new penalty for participating in illegal immigration.

Key point: House Bill 1196 required businesses to attest on applications for public subsidies that they do not and will not employ unauthorized aliens, and established that a business must repay any subsidy it received if it is subsequently convicted of having employed illegal immigrants.

 


 

House Bill 126 (80R) Penalties for Document Fraud

House Bill 126 increased the penalties associated with document fraud by classifying the offense as "organized crime." Document fraud has become a large criminal industry, which threatens the security of documents used by the state to establish residency and citizenship. In its June 2006 "Fact Sheet on Comprehensive Immigration Reform," the White House pointed out that "[t]oday there is an entire underground industry dedicated to producing fake IDs and fraudulent Social Security Numbers."1 By increasing the penalties for those who engage in production of fraudulent documents in Texas, HB126 was an appropriate response to the growing problems created by the document fraud industry.

Key point: House Bill 126 allowed stricter penalties to be imposed on those who perpetrate document fraud by classifying the offense of tampering with a governmental record as "organized crime."

 


 

Senate Bill 11 (80R) Penalties for Human Trafficking

Senate Bill 11 broadened the definition of human trafficking offenses in statute, which enhances the ability of law enforcement officials to detain and prosecute those who commit human trafficking offenses. The bill established that human trafficking is a second degree felony, and that it is a first degree felony if the victim is under 18 years of age or is trafficked for the purposes of prostitution. As the state continues to deal with the challenges posed by its 1,200 mile international border, SB 11 was a vital reform that enables the state to effectively combat border-related crimes such as human trafficking.

Key point: Senate Bill 11 expanded the statutory definition of human trafficking and increased penalties for those convicted of the offense.

House Bill 1 (80R) Increased Funding for Homeland and Border Security

Within the fiscally conservative state budget, $274million was devoted to funding border and homeland security initiatives. This was important because one of the fundamental roles played by government is that of providing law enforcement; Texas shares a 1,200 mile border with Mexico, which presents abundant opportunities for crimes such a drug trafficking and people trafficking to occur.

Devoting funding to preventing such crimes is clearly necessary and was another notable success of the state budget. Law enforcement efforts along the border, such as Operation Wrangler III, have been shown to decrease border crime by one-third in periods of less than a month.

Key point: The state budget devoted $274 million to law enforcement initiatives along the state’s international border.

 


 

House Bill 1372 (81R) House Bill 4009 (81R) Protecting Victims of Human Trafficking

H.B. 1372 expands the definition of crime victim to include victims of human trafficking. With this expanded definition, victims of human trafficking will be eligible for crime victims services administered by the Office of Attorney General, which include:

  • The Crime Victims’ Compensation Program
  • Other Victim Assistance Grants
  • VCLG - Victim Coordinator and Liaison Grants
  • SAPCS - Sexual Assault Prevention and Crisis Services Program
  • Texas VINE - Statewide Automated Victim Notification System
  • CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocates
  • CAC - Children’s Advocacy Centers
  • CVCLS - Crime Victim Civil Legal Services
  • TAASA - Sexual Assault Services Program Grant

In Fiscal Year 2007, the Crime Victims Compensation Program paid $65.6 million in benefits, which are funded by federal grants, court costs, and restitution payments (among other sources). Benefits under the program include: attorneys fees; bereavement leave; lost wages; travel expenses; medical expenses; and relocation support.

Traffickers use fraud, force, and coercion to force men, women, and children into labor or commercial sex. House Bill 1372 allows victims of human trafficking to apply for crime victims’ services so that they may recover from the crimes perpetrated against them.

H.B. 4009 creates an assistance program under the HHSC for domestic victims of human trafficking who are permanent legal residents of the United States. The bill outlines funding streams for the grant program and requires a study regarding additional funding strategies to be conducted. House Bill 4009 provides grants for victim services and trains judges, prosecutors, police, and officers to assist victims of human trafficking.

Key point: HB 1371 and HB 4009 address one of the most abhorrent manifestations of illegal immigration by providing assistance and protection for victims of human trafficking.


Legislative Advertising. Brent Connett for
Rep. Geanie Morrison, President, Texas Conservative Coalition.
P.O. Box 2659, Austin TX, 78768 | Phone: 512-474-1798
Copyright 2008 - Texas Conservative Coalition