The House State Affairs Committee met on October 16 to take up SB 4 (Flores), SB 7 (Middleton), and SB 11 (Birdwell). At the end of the hearing, these bills were left pending. Part one of the hearing can be found here and part two can be found here.


This report is intended to give you an overview and highlight the various topics taken up. It is not a verbatim transcript of the discussions but is based upon what was audible or understandable to the observer.


SB 7 (Middleton) Relating to prohibiting a private employer from adopting or enforcing certain COVID-19 vaccine mandates; authorizing an administrative penalty.

  • Leach lays out the CS
  • Leach – SB 7 is the Senate companion to HB 7, passed out of the Senate last week
  • COVID-19 created significant challenges, policymakers had to navigate complex, changing situations
  • Many still experiencing loss of livelihood and financial hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic; not all COVID policies were correct, now need to go back and do things differently; SB 7 does this
  • No protections exist under law currently for those who don’t wish to receive a COVID vaccine, but whose employer mandates that they do so; SB 7 addresses this
  • Prohibits employers from adopting any policy requiring employees to take COVID vaccine, prohibits adverse action against employees and contractors, TWC complaints allowed with possible $10k penalty for violation, AG can also seek injunctive relief & AG can recoup investigative costs on behalf on the TWC
  • SB 7 does allow some maneuvering for health care providers, can adopt reasonable policies for PPE for unvaccinated employees, any investigation would require TWC to consult with DSHS
  • CS makes technical corrections to drafting, no substantive changes
  • Not the right policy to allow employers to force vaccines on employees
  • Anchia – In an environment where we did not know scope or depth & we were listening to best medical minds, now telling private employers that they cannot protect their employees? These are private entities? Can have a policy to not do business with at-will contractors, but now they cannot?
    • Leach – Do not believe that this bill prevents an employer a reasonable opportunity to protect the medically fragile or uniquely susceptible; employers should do this and penalties exist under law when employers don’t do this
    • Don’t want to get into debate about vaccine efficacy, but don’t believe state policy should be to allow employers to discriminate against those who don’t get the vaccine
  • Anchia – So saying you can’t require a flu vaccine to protect employees?
    • Leach – This only applies to COVID, SB 7 prevents retaliatory action for
  • Anchia – What if you say the employee will have to work from home? Could still be sued
    • Leach – Does not create a private cause of action
  • Anchia – There could be a complaint
    • Leach – You would be subject to a complaint and TWC would investigate if it is adverse; trust TWC to investigate & determine; if policy is reasonable then TWC can allow
  • Anchia – Where is safe harbor for employers?
    • Leach – Line 11, Pg 1 in definition of “adverse action”
    • If you have a policy that the TWC is punishing, alienating, or otherwise adversely affecting employees you have a problem
    • Working from home or moving them to another section could be reasonable
  • Anchia – That is not a safe harbor; reasonability standards are a fact standard & this is not a safe harbor to me, only opening employers up to TWC claims; not clear that these policies could be reasonable to TWC or an ALJ
    • Leach – TWC does this work all the time, have many other situations where TWC investigates complaints from employees
  • Anchia – Bill goes farther, can’t decide who you do business with, contractors, etc.; can’t decide this for the person refilling the Pepsi machine; could I discriminate today against people with red beards?
    • Leach – Would lead to lawsuit; SB 7 doesn’t create private cause of action
  • Anchia – Real safe harbor is not a reasonableness standard; real safe harbor would be delineating that you could allow people to work from home, move them to a different department, etc.
    • Leach – TWC is uniquely situated to determine reasonableness
  • S Thompson – If I’m an employee with a liver transplant & employer lets an unvaccinated person go to protect me, the employer would get sued?
    • Leach – Doesn’t create a private cause of action
  • Smithee – This only applies to the COVID vaccine, will have no application to flu vaccines, others
    • Leach – Correct
  • Smithee – COVID vaccine appears to be fairly unique, was rushed to market; still gathering info on efficacy & effects; anything you have seen regarding the COVID vaccine in this regard?
    • Leach – Speed at which vaccine was brought to market, seems to be an increasing amount saying we maybe should’ve slowed a bit
    • Have seen some negative consequences for some populations taking the vaccine
    • If an employer requires the vaccine and the employee is damaged, the employee cannot sue for this
  • Raymond – I support the bill, this is a very sensitive issue; Laredo had some of the highest vaccination rates; why are we only limiting this to COVID? I guess the answer is because the GOV limited the call, but asking whoever is listening to make this broader; if the Gov changed the call, would you be open to expanding it?
    • Leach – Very limited right now, but have been speaking with Gov about expanding the call to address medical students and nursing students being required to be vaccinated
  • Raymond – Many of those students are probably more in tune with what their body can and cannot take
    • Leach – Would like for the call to be expanding to loop them in
    • As for other vaccines, don’t want to opine on that, but is an important conversation to have
  • Raymond – Have this bill because it was necessitated by COVID vaccines, but issues aren’t different with other vaccines
    • Leach – There seem to be more COVID boosters coming out, I do know some getting boosters because it is a condition of employment
  • C Turner – Can you describe the scope of the perceived problem?
    • Leach – Don’t have this number, not sure you can know
    • More troubling number is how many have gotten the vaccine because they were forced to
  • C Turner – The only thing I’ve heard about this issue is that one of our colleagues tweets about this a lot
    • Leach – Can introduce you to constituents that have been impacted by this
  • C Turner – Can you go over health care facility provision again?
    • Leach – Allows reasonable policy that would include use of PPE, e.g. hospital could require a person to wear a masking
  • C Turner – Anything today that would’ve prevented that?
    • Leach – Draft of this bill at one time would not have allowed this
    • Have been working hard meeting with stakeholders
  • C Turner – Facilities can require PPE to be worn today, so this isn’t really a change
    • Leach – It is because health care facilities could fire someone for not taking the vaccine
  • C Turner – If I work at a hospital now it could be a condition of employment that I would wear a mask
    • Leach – Yes, but this bill doesn’t address this
  • C Turner – Only health care facility provision in the bill, so no exception for a hospital, nursing home, etc.
    • Leach – Correct
  • C Turner – So employees could refuse a vaccine and be around vulnerable patients
    • Leach – Protecting rights and liberties of all Texans; have worked with hospitals on this bill, believe those facilities will take reasonable precautions and continue to protect patients
  • C Turner – On TWC, they receive a complaint & investigate, how many FTEs would this require?
    • Leach – Senate fiscal note
  • C Turner – Fiscal note says it cannot be determined; so we don’t know if it will be 1, 2, etc.
    • Leach – Resource witness is here
  • C Turner – Do you think there is any correlation between life getting back to normal, incidence of COVID dropping, and vaccines becoming available?
    • Leach – Don’t want to opine on that; have colleagues, others who could better testify to this
    • There are constituents in my district who have lost their jobs due to not taking the vaccine
  • C Turner – You said something about the vaccine being rushed to market?
    • Leach – Operation warp speed
  • C Turner – Trump did a good job getting vaccine out to help life get back to normal; they didn’t skip testing, validation studies, etc.; highlights how incidence of myocarditis is higher in people who caught COVID than who received the vaccine
    • Leach – Advocacy group called for a moratorium on use of the COVID vaccine & genetic modification


Jackie Schlegel, Texans for Medical Freedom – For

  • Many share this concern, here to protect Texan’s right to have their decisions in their own medical care
  • Must hold true to TX commitment to freedom


Michelle Evans, Texans for Vaccine Choice – For

  • Lege has so far approached medical liberty in a piecemeal fashion, current call is specific and limited in scope, but Texans for Vaccine Choice supports medical liberty
  • Org is still regularly receiving requests for assistance; right should be codified in TX law


Howard Barker, Self – For

  • Supporting SB 7, thought mandatory vaccinations were part of settled history
  • Growing evidence that vaccines are ineffective and have serious side effects


Jonathan Covey, Texas Values – For

  • Employees can take precautions but also protect sincerely held religious beliefs


Sheila Hemphill, Texas Right to Know – For

  • Supports Rep. Raymond’s call to expand this beyond the COVID vaccine
  • SB 6 was passed in 2021 protecting employers
  • CDC changed definition of vaccine, COVID vaccines do not prevent infection or transmission


Matt Long, Self – For

  • Support the bill, but needs to modified a little bit
  • Job of government is to protect our rights, incl. rights on medical procedures


Ed Serna, Texas Workforce Commission – Resource

  • C Turner – Could you describe what you think the impact of SB 7 will be on the agency?
    • Serna – Indicated on fiscal note that it would require 2-3 FTEs for investigation
    • Currently doing things manually right now, but would also want to create a computer system to automate many of the functions
    • Total cost would be just under $2m, but there is recovery of investigative costs under the bill
    • Since Dec 2021, TWC has had just over 5k complaints filed, majority were in Dec 2021 and Jan 2022, tapered off since then
    • Received about 14 complaints recently
    • Currently, contacted employer upon complaint, goes through unemployment insurance process due to lack of specific process
    • Of those complaints, TWC confirmed 1.5k filed unemployment insurance claim
  • C Turner – Most recent batch is 14 complaints? What’s a batch?
    • Serna – Since the Gov order expired, based on a quarter
  • C Turner – So 14 out of a state of 30m people over the last few months
    • Serna – Yes
  • Anchia – There were referrals to local DAs?
    • Serna – Referred to local DA under Gov’s order
  • Anchia – Criminal referrals?
    • Serna – Would have to go back and look
  • Anchia – Curious to see the referrals
  • Hernandez – Under injunctive relief section, TWC can request AG to do this; what does this look like?
    • Serna – Don’t know, we don’t have that now, would likely assign attorney to work with the AG
  • Hernandez – Could you force a rehire?
    • Serna – Uncertain, don’t have the rules yet
    • There is a language relieving employer of penalty upon rehire, but uncertain what AG would pursue


SB 7 left pending


SB 4 (Flores) Relating to the punishment for certain criminal conduct involving the smuggling of persons or the operation of a stash house; increasing criminal penalties.

  • Guillen lays out the bill
  • Guillen – SB 4 will significantly increase deterrent effect on offenders & repeat offenders, escalates human smuggling to 3rd degree felony, operating a stash house to 3rd degree felony, etc.
  • 1st degree smuggling in a disaster area with certain victim criteria has penalty increased by 5 years
  • Modulates sentencing for smuggling to 5 year minimum for those who cooperate or for family members in 3rd degree of consanguinity; current law provides for an affirmative defense up to 3rd degree of consanguinity
  • Definition of smuggling is not changed
  • SB 4 covers Gov Abbott’s remaining 3 emergency border security items from the 88th Session


Paul Edinburgh, Galveston County Constable Precinct 2 – For

  • Galveston County was one of the first to respond to call for mutual aid, have arrested citizens from Galveston County smuggling across the border & they are brought back to Galveston County
  • Border crisis is making Galveston County less safe
  • Raymond – One of the arrestees was a sexual predator?
    • Edinburgh – One was a wanted child sexual predator in the US
  • Raymond – They were wanted in the US?
    • Edinburgh – Was told by border patrol agent that they were a wanted child sexual predator
  • Raymond – 5 arrests? All from the same country?
    • Edinburgh – Most were from Mexico
  • Raymond and Edinburgh discuss arrest process


Howard Barker, Self – For

  • Applaud any bill that deters smuggling, smuggling is an offense against human rights; most obvious victims of border policies are women and minors
  • Bill simply improves upon SB 1248 from the 88th Session
  • Anchia – Have you also been advocating for immigration reform allowing legal and humane entry
    • Barker – There is a proper way to come in and be a legal immigrant
    • Largest legal immigration out of any country in the world
    • There is a need for immigration & we have a facility to do that
  • Anchia – Do you believe we should expand definition of smugglers to cover employers? There are push factors, but there are also pull factors; there is an insatiable appetite for immigrant labor in TX
    • Barker – I think that is wrong, do hear of business owners encouraging people to cross illegally, but I haven’t seen it
  • Anchia – You would stipulate that employers employ undocumented workers by the millions, correct?
    • Barker – Not sure the numbers; I think every employer ought to have to fill out immigration statistics paperwork
  • Anchia – Would you support expanding?
    • Barker – Already a violation of the law, not sure if I would call it smuggling; should be prosecuted


Carine Martinez, Texas Public Policy Foundation – For

  • Have found a lot of collusions between cartels and the Mexican state, cartels control more territory in Mexico, including in the border region
  • Endangers Texas communities and the migrants


Nathan Perot, Self – Against

  • Was arrested for human smuggling, agreed to give a friend a ride; state troopers arrested him when he arrived
  • C Turner – You were going to pick up some people for a fee, but you didn’t pick anyone up, you were arrested? What was the charge
    • Perot – 6 counts of human smuggling
  • C Turner – Do you know how they justified the charge?
    • Perot – Officers found illegal immigrants
  • C Turner – Where did the arrest occur?
    • Perot – Del Rio


Maggie Welch, Texas Rising, Self – Against

  • Angered by continuous and brutal expansion of Operation Lone Star
  • Targeting black & brown young adults
  • TX could use the funding for many more productive purposes to address unmet needs behind these crimes


Jimmy Fullen, Galveston County Constable’s Office – For

  • Federal government has refused to do its job, SB 4 is a much needed deterrent


Daniella Silva, Self – Against

  • Will not cut out root of smuggling & ultimately cost far more in human life and dignity; will ensnare many legal residents of TX
  • Will not deter migration, not driven by lax laws, driven by failure of federal government to provide legal pathway into the US


Yvonne Diaz, Texas Rising, Self – Against

  • We if really want to protect people from being smuggled, need to look at Governor’s actions; children & families have been separated
  • SB 4 is not the solution
  • Raymond – When Gov started busing people, expected people to start calling others to tell them Gov is busing people north; would you agree there is a lot of illegal immigration into the US?
    • Diaz – People are seeking asylum
  • Raymond – But they are coming into the country illegally and then seeking asylum
    • Diaz – System is criminalizing this activity
  • Raymond – How would you change the system, what would be helpful?
    • Diaz – Needs to be more expansion of ports entry, system for legal immigration, instead of putting more money in ways to criminalize people
  • Raymond – Agrees worker visa program needs to be expanded; believe because US citizens are giving people jobs, most people probably wouldn’t come fi there weren’t jobs
  • Hernandez and Diaz discuss St. Christopher’s church in El Paso
  • Hernandez – There are churches who want to help people, whether they have papers or not; under SB 4, taking away a judge’s power & instituting minimum 10 year sentence which would concern a lot of people
    • Diaz – Yes


Justin West, Galveston County Constable Precinct 4 – For

  • Seeing repeat offenders trafficking people
  • Gives examples of investigations
  • Anchia – Are you aware of any arrests in Galveston County for business owners who have undocumented laborers?
    • West – Would need to refer to ICE
  • Anchia – So you have not tried to get to the bottom of this; have you
  • Hernandez – If there is an afternoon school care, if there are undocumented children, is that smuggling?
    • West – How would I know they are illegal?
  • Hernandez – How do you know elsewhere; under SB 4 they could be smuggling
    • West – Under my understanding they have to be secreting individuals
  • Hernandez – Is there a minimum? One?
    • West – Yes
  • Hernandez – The woman who testified earlier that she gives people a ride regardless of status, she could be smuggling?
    • West – Smuggling requires secreting
  • Hernandez – Need to think about all the situations when passing legislation
    • West – Not getting children being smuggled, getting groups of people
  • Hernandez – But law could be applied that way
    • West – Haven’t applied smuggling this way, would be more concerned about kidnapping
  • Thompson – Where do you put arrestees? Jail?
    • West – Yes
  • Thompson – So you’ll need more space?
    • West – Take them to processing unit, Del Rio has a processing center
  • Thompson – There will be more employees needed
    • West – Not sure what TDCJ or contractors are doing
  • Thompson – More prisoners would need more employees to watch over them
    • West – We contract with neighboring jails to assist when ours are full
  • Thompson – Will be opportunities for new employment, new jails built
    • West – Sounds good to me


Bethany Carson, Grassroots and Leadership – Against

  • Excessive enforcement for non-violent offenses, remove discretion from judges and increase racial disparity


Jaime Puente, Aelf – Against

  • 9m immigrants in Texas and contribute 20% of the economic output
  • Bill will impact negatively immigrant Texans
  • Open border rhetoric and attack on federal government, exacerbates the problem


Charles Malee, South Texans Property Rights Association – For

  • The bill is designed as a tool in the tool box to reduce the activity and will go after the pocket book of those participating in the illegal activity
  • Anchia – who are the people in your organization?
    • Rural communities, farmers and ranchers as well as homeowners
    • They do support immigration reform to support people being able to legally work in Texas
  • Anchia – definition of smuggling if the person knowingly or induces, so ranch hands being paid money from farmers in his organization could be impacted by the bill
    • Agriculture operations depends upon immigrant legal (no necessarily legal or illegal)
    • Would not want to see an employer penalized for employment/inducement, wants to go after the cartels
  • Anchia – if ranchers were put in jail, the demand driver would be stopped
    • Would the nanny in a residential, the gardener or hotel staff also be in the grouping as posed by Anchia
    • Anchia – said witness raises a good point, this issue is ubiquitous in society


Kristin Edder, Rio Grande Legal Aid – Against

  • Many of these people are not secreted, but just giving people a ride
  • Mandatory minimum is unfair, unjust and will target youth
  • Raymond – confirms hundreds of smugglers in last few years
    • Appointed to represent about 3k
  • Raymond – asked if 8 months is a serious deterrent
    • 2-10 on first degree, 2-20 on second degree so anytime you have a serious felony it’s a deterrent
    • Concern this punishment for driving is stronger than punishment for a murderer
  • Raymond – agrees work visa should be expanded and witnesses should say it and talk to Federal Congress
  • Turner – ask about definition
    • A thought crime, a broad statute
    • Reviews punishment in bill vs current punishment, already have a severe punishment for repeat offenders


Rosa Avala, Border Network for Human Rights – Against

  • SB 4 would not be helpful in their community but rather a tool that would criminalize families with mix statue
  • Concern about needing to drive loved ones to work, hospital and school


Irma Cruz, Border Network for Human Rights – Against

  • Sad that bill will criminalize those who want to help, taking neighbor to doctor, the store or school


Andrew Hendrickson, ACLU – Against

  • Mandatory minimums cause injustice, takes away judicial discretion
  • Justice valve safety amendment recommendation
  • Said Koch brothers supported this and this is one area where Koch brothers and ACLU are in agreement
  • Raymond – asks for clarification, what was change in federal , asked for example of when this would be used
    • Allows judge to dismiss minimum if certain factors are met
    • Provides example such as exacerbation of family need, youth
    • Believes judge should have option to oppose a lesser sentence under certain terms
  • Raymond – says need to talk about things like expanding Visas, etc
    • Do have people that speak at national level and he is from state speaking on state level advocacy
    • Has had conversations with many people

Libby Goldman, Never Again Action – Against

  • Talks about her experience, witnessed many due process violations
  • Bill will not deter migrants and expanding language in the bill will only increase arrest
  • Smithee – made some serious allegations, only seen them try to save lives and are very respectful
    • Based on her listening to the hearings, she has witnessed what she earlier testified on

Robert Lopez – Texas Civil Rights Project – Against

  • Bill is too broad and people who could get caught up include uber drivers, bus drivers, pastor picking up someone for church or family member picking up someone for health care, school or work
  • Bill carries harsh punishments that exceed federal guidelines

Samantha Singleton, Border Network for Human Rights – Against

  • Instead of heightening consequences for good Samaritans, work on helping all mankind

Esther Reyes, Children Defense Fund Texas – Against

  • Representatives voting for SB 4 are choosing fears over facts, bill does little to nothing to address actual concerns
  • Raymond – asked for suggestions for bill to help improve immigration?
    • Take away mandatory minimum, and vote down bill SB 4
    • This bill does not really address smuggling
    • Voting for bill is not about reducing smuggling, its about putting people in jail
  • Hunter – asked witness to get thoughts to clerk on how to address smuggling
  • She is from the border, she will is able to provide details and has experience in this area
  • Neave Criado – continue to ask several witnesses how the language impacts children
    • Unsure but does believe the minimums would still apply

Cybil Sybille, Grassroots Leadership – Against

  • Creates 10 yr mandatory minimum or 15 yr at border
  • This bill would impact those targeted on social media and will harm mixed status families
  • Bill would expand mass incarceration
  • Need to invest more in care not cages

Bob Lybil, Human Rights Watch – Against

  • Young Texans being charged with crimes being recruited off of social media and many were US citizens and a large percentage were young teenagers

Priscilla Lugo, Self – Against

  • Bill will harm her community
  • 80% of those booked on human smuggling are citizens, unaware of smuggling and disproportionate number of youth
  • Mandatory minimums are bad idea and do not work

Aaron Thorne, Texas Civil Rights – Against

  • There is no discretion for judges allowed under the bill
  • First cousins are also in the degree of consanguinity

Anna Gonzalez, Texas AFLCIO – Against

  • Many members have mixed status families and the bill will hurt them
  • Would suggest legislation focus on humanitarian efforts instead of building cages

Jessie Fuentes, Eagle Pass Border Coalition – Against

  • Concern with initial stop and who is identified as a smuggler
  • Many will be ensnared by bill just because of color of skin


Guillen – closes

  • Escalates punishment for smuggling and stash houses
  • Does not change definition and allows for family to transport family
  • Both parties joint authored previously


SB 4 left pending


SB 11 (Birdwell) Relating to the creation of the criminal offense of improper entry from a foreign nation.

  • Geren lays out bill
  • Committee substitute currently being drafted
  • Arresting officer has to witness illegal crossing of border, purpose of the committee sub
  • Turner – confirms language is sub makes it so the officer has to physically witness crossing of the border
    • Yes, currently situation is overloading border security
  • Turner – bill does not limit to state action, it would be state and local
    • Yes, talked to Sen over the weekend and staff of offices are talking to each other to address comments as bill was laid out on the floor
  • Neave Criado – affirmative defense, someone with a green card; how long before they are able to raise the affirmative defense
    • If you come in to seek asylum or with a green care
    • Believe it could be raised the first time they go before a judge
  • Neave Criado – Arizona vs United States decision, what makes SB 11 different from language in Arizona case
    • Don’t believe the language is applicable, believe they have addressed the issues in the Arizona case
  • Neave Criado – Under SB 1070, Supreme Court ruled certain provisions were preempted by federal law
    • Legislation was written carefully to avoid that issue
    • Have not invoked invasion clause in this legislation, the Governor would make that call
  • Raymond – confirms if cross at legal port of entry the bill would not impact them, is hope this is a deterrent
    • Absolutely, want to deter from people coming across illegally
  • Raymond – don’t think this bill would have the intended effect, going to give them benefits of staying in jail such as health care, meal and food for one year
  • Raymond – argues bill is a welcome to Texas, will not be voting for the bill
  • Geren – asked if there will be an amendment on deportation from Raymond, it needs to be done by 3p
  • Smithee and Geren discuss repeat offenders
  • Turner – Bill will not affect those who have come across a legal port of entry seeking asylum?
    • Geren – Correct
  • Turner – Those who do not cross a legal port of entry and are seeking asylum, will be prosecuted?
    • Geren – They will be arrested
  • Turner and Geren discuss a specific incident of how DPS handled immigrants crossing the border
  • Turner – If this circumvents federal asylum law
    • Geren – Is not the intent
  • Turner – If it has that effect are we interfering in federal law?
    • Geren – Think this will get people to do it the right way
  • Raymond – Preferred Hildalgo and Cameron County
  • Guillen – Will be an increase in charges, detentions will increase, will be in state facilities?
    • Geren – Are encouraged, in conversation with governor’s office to use grant and TDEM money to offset costs these counties would incur
  • Guillen – Would still need to secure these funds? Not already appropriated?
    • Geren – Correct
  • Guillen – Does the money cover criminal defense attorneys?
    • Geren – Yes, includes other costs
  • Hunter – The substitute is not before this committee currently, all will testify on the bill as filed
  • Hunter – Sometime before 3 PM we will break so members can go to House floor, will reconvene sometime after the session ends


Steve McCraw, DPS – Neutral

  • Metcalf – Heard some immigrants from Iran crossing recently?
    • Yes, have had people from all around the world cross
  • Metcalf – What are happening with them?
    • Those from high are addressed through the counter terrorism program; have seen an increasing amount of immigrants from countries on the terrorism watch list
  • Metcalf – What will be accomplished under this bill?
    • Believe the bill will deter people and send them to the points of entry
  • Raymond – Disagree on the deterrent part; how many have come illegally?
    • 2m this year; high was in 2022 at 1.4m; does not count those coming through the ports of entry
    • 5m apprehensions since Operation Lone Star started between the ports of entry
  • Raymond – Reiterates the bill does not deter anyone from coming to Texas
  • Raymond – Cost to house an inmate in a jail? Need to follow up on this
    • Do not know; since OLS started, have been 478k referrals to border patrol and 220k were DPS apprehensions
  • Raymond – Cost would be likely in the thousands; do not have a fiscal note on this bill? Ask LBB to give us this cost
  • Raymond and McCraw discuss the Remain in Mexico policy in deterring border crossings
  • Geren – Tarrant County is estimating this cost, will get that to you
  • Guillen – If this illegal entry law was in place when OLS started, how many would have been charged?
    • Would be some other number because of the discussions; the bill says if we do not see them cross the river, cannot charge; language makes a difference
  • Guillen – Anticipate only charging those that you see crossing?
    • If that is the way it is written, eliminates those we apprehend along the roadway
  • Guillen – Are three OLS detention facilities; will this be enough?
    • Will need more not only for facilities, but other costs
  • Guillen – Will need more funding than the border security funds already appropriated?
    • Not sure; whatever it is right now, will likely need more
  • Turner – Asks about OLS facilities; are any camps
    • Have three facilities with about 2k spaces; are prisons designed to operate as jails; no camps
    • Bill says to the “extent feasible” they are put in OLS facilities, will prioritize those who are an immediate security threat
  • Spiller – Now are utilizing criminal trespass?
    • Correct
  • Spiller – Majority of those that are prosecuted under that are held for a short time and then released; understand they are being released to border patrol
    • Correct; are actually turned over to ICE and could collect asylum rights at that time
  • Spiller – Would those being prosecuted under this bill be treated the same as those under criminal trespass
    • Would be handled much the same way; misdemeanor charges do not affect asylum collecting abilities
  • Geren – Bill aims to give DPS ability to charge the bad guys and turn over the rest to border patrol; not to put every single person in jail
    • Correct; will use biometrics like fingerprints to prioritize this
  • Neave-Criado – How do you determine who is a citizen or not?
    • Does not make a difference under this bill; depends on how the bill is written
  • Neave-Criado – Statute is not clear and is broad currently –
    • Believe it is only limited to seeing them cross the border
  • Neave-Criado – That is not how I read the bill; is statewide
    • Depends on how the statute is passed; will be conservative; will go with the will of the legislature
  • Neave-Criado – Are concerns the Latino community will be targeted under this bill
    • Only thing you can do is look at the circumstances; depends on how the legislation is written if a U.S. citizen could be charged
  • Neave-Criado – Does not say you have to see it; will need to prove they are a U.S. citizen to not be charged under this law
    • Do not ask citizenship unless there is reason to believe there is a federal violation
  • Neave-Criado and McCraw discuss DPS’s anti racial profiling policy
  • Neave-Criado – Asks about the section concerning eluding arrest
    • Do not have anything to say about that section until after the bill is passed; will do the will of the legislature


Howard L, Self – For

  • Bill readdresses issues brought up on SB 2424 which was sent to calendars too late in the 88(R) session
  • Effective enforcement will depend on the expansion of facilities and law enforcement ability to address immigration violations separate from border patrol


Selene Rodriguez, Texas Public Policy Foundation – For

  • This bill is necessary for the safety of Texas as immigration numbers continue to rise
  • Raymond – Have an opinion whether the deportation amendment would make the bill more effective? We are becoming a waystation for those who are eventually released
    • Support the removal of migrants from the state; do think being in jail is an effective deterrent; cannot say which is better


Charles Maley, Self – For

  • Did not testify


Daniel Ramos, Harris County Office of Budget and Management – Against

  • As written, the bill will lead to operational/budget issues in counties
  • Are already struggling to meet jail standards; will drive competition for jail beds and will drive related costs up
  • Estimated costs after this bill passes to Harris County is $182m


Barbara Hines, Self – Against

  • Have been practicing immigration law since the 70s
  • Bill is preempted under law; is no immigration law expert that says this bill is constitutional
  • The state has no right to pass a copycat federal immigration law; which this bill is
  • Local authorities are not equipped to determine whether someone is an “alien” or not
  • Turner – If someone is seeking asylum, and charged/convicted under this bill, will that affect their asylum proceedings?
    • Yes; including they are in jail and miss the asylum filing deadline; asylum is also discretionary
  • Hunter – Notes there are 29 witnesses left
  • Hernandez – Would that also be the case for DACA recipients?
    • Yes, DACA is also discretionary; statute does not require abatement


Jennifer Alman, Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops – Against

  • Did not testify


Adam Hanes, Conference of Urban Counties – Against

  • Not against basics/policy of this bill, but this completely overhauls our jurisprudence and property taxes
  • Creates a new class of charges and send them to county jails
  • Because of the failure of the federal government, are we going to transfer those costs to the property tax payer
  • Neave-Criado – Are saying property taxes are going up after the passage of this law?
    • Yes; costs are going to dramatically increase
  • Neave-Criado – Which is unrolling the bipartisan work to lower property taxes?
    • Correct
  • Neave-Criado – Indigent defense?
    • County pays about 85-88% of the indigent defense; under OLS the state pays for 100%; hope to get an amendment on the bill that the state will pick up this cost
  • Neave-Criado – What is the total cost?
    • Statewide easily in the tens of billions; including jail and indigent defense and other costs


Rosa Avila, Border Network for Human Rights – Against

  • Proposal gives unnecessary to state authorities and will endanger our communities that will be exposed to racial profiling
  • Urge legislators to vote against any legislation that expands the scope, funding, and authority of OLS


Irma Cruz, Border Network for Human Rights – Against

  • Organization puts together an abuse documentation for DPS and activity in border regions; seen a large pattern of dangerous high-speed chases in our cities
  • Giving more power and authority to a state agency who is not prepared is a mistake


Nora Marta, Border Workers United – Against

  • This bill expands mass incarceration and would result in billions of related costs
  • Cannot turn local police into ICE; are concerns about racial profiling and harassment


Ivan Diaz, Self – Against

  • This is going to create problems instead of alleviating the human rights issues at our border
  • Am a DACA recipient; overviews their story of crossing the border, under this bill, I would be considered a criminal


Maggie Welch, Self – Against

  • Did not testify


Daniella Silva, Self – Against

  • Did not testify


Jessie Fuentes, Eagle Pass Border Coalition – Against

  • Did not testify


Denise Gillman, Self – Neutral

  • Did not testify


Jaime Puente, Self – Against

  • Did not testify


Jesus Perales, Texas AFLCIO – Against

  • Expanding OLS is an attack against communities of color
  • OLS has already cost taxpayers billions of dollars


Gloria Leal, League of United Latin American Citizens – Against

  • Did not testify


RocĂ­o Fierro Perez, Texas Freedom Network – Against

  • This bill will lead to racial profiling; will encourage police statewide to look into immigration status
  • This bill is preempted by federal law and is out of step with jurisprudence


Esther Reyes, Childrens Defense Fund – Against

  • Did not testify


Samantha Singleton, Border Network for Human Rights – Against

  • Bill is an extension of hateful rhetoric; will increase racial profiling across the state
  • Creating more prisons is not the answer to a humanitarian crisis


Maria Sanchez, Border Workers United – Against

  • Anything that expands OLS is not right; are not investing taxpayers money wisely


David Stout, El Paso County Commissioner – Against

  • Do not pass another piece of legislation that burdens the taxpayers and does not address the immigration issues we have
  • Over the last two years El Paso County has seen an additional $30m in unfunded mandates
  • The cost of this bill would be astronomical for taxpayers
  • Migrants should not be criminalized for seeking opportunity and refuge


Libby Goldman, Never Again Action ATX – Against

  • Did not testify


Bethany Carson, Grassroots Leadership – Against

  • The “right way” to get into the state is not available for a majority of immigrants due to federal law and safety issues
  • Heard discussion about a deportation amendment, it is illegal for the state to do so
  • Fundamentally, this is a failed policy; this has not proven to deter migration
  • Raymond – If there were 10m coming into the state per year, would you be okay with that?
    • Does not matter how I feel about it, it is a policy issue; need to provide aid, not jail people


Roberto Lopez, Texas Civil Rights Project – Against

  • Doesn’t understand what this bill does that is any different then what’s been tried at the federal level
  • 2009 to 2017 President Obama administration has launched 444,993prosecutions under improper entry, more than any administration to date
  • Even after all of these prosecutions, crossings haven’t stopped
  • This bill targets asylum seekers fleeing prosecution in their country of origin
  • Border crossings are able to process 135 million people each year for commerce but cant deal with the 1 million immigrants at our border
  • Should try to expand processing wat bridges with the $5 billion


Pricilla Lugo, Latino Justice – Against

  • Bill will cause direct harm to all Texans; it is bad policy
  • OLS has led to an increase in stops and citations in border communities
  • This will be Texas’s own “show me your papers” law
  • It costs the federal government $170m to enforce Operation Streamline in Arizona


Charles Reed, Dallas County Commissioners Court – Against

  • Bill will raise property taxes
  • State budget is $77 dollars a day to house somebody in the prison system
  • There are only 3k OLS bed; 98k county beds statewide and Texas is at 72% capacity
  • Happy to hear about changes to the bill
  • If any of these individuals are incompetent to stand trial it becomes a burden on the county because of a 300 day mental facility wait
  • Neave-Criado – Over half of Dallas is Hispanic?
    • Correct
  • Neave- Criado – What is your biggest concern locally with these bills?
    • Jail space, I do not believe we could take another 300 inmates in our county jail. It would also be hard to ship overflow to another county.
  • Guillen – The way you read the bill would you be required to enforce it.
    • I don’t think so
  • Guillen – do you think if DPS charges someone they will go to the county jail
    • Correct
  • Guillen – You don’t believe your Sheriffs deputies would have to enforce this if y’all cant a afford it
    • We don’t but every other police force in Dallas county processes through Dallas County


Melissa Shannon, Bexar County Commissioner Court – Neutral

  • It would be a significant cost on citizens of Bexar County
  • 80k illegal immigrants in Bexar County
  • If 80k were arrested we would have to add 30 new courts, 90 new DA’s, and 30 new bailiffs
  • It’s hard to recruit


Aron Thorne, Texas Civil Rights Project – Against

  • The defense in this bill is not based in the facts of immigration
  • This bill kills any defense for meritorious asylum seekers
  • Neave-Criado – If they are charged under this they cannot file for asylum?
    • Asylum claims take so long and you are not allowed to pause your prosecution
  • Neave-Criado – How do you prevent American citizens from being questioned under this law?
    • Unfortunately law enforcement officer will have to do some sort of questioning
  • Neave-Criado – You don’t have to seem them cross to question them?
    • Correct


Kristin Eder, RGV Legal Aid – Against

  • Did not testify


Jesse Fuentes, Eagle Pass Border Coalition – Against

  • Things are not running smoothly along the border
  • Things will get out of hand if this bill goes into action
  • Border Patrol has been pushed out of every place DPS has gone


Andrew Hendrickson, ACLU of Texas – Against

  • The right to asylum is a cornerstone to human rights law
  • 4 years on average for asylum status to be obtained
  • Raymond – If congress hired 1k new judges do you think that would have an impact?
    • With a million applications pending I don’t think so
  • Raymond – What percentage of asylum cases are successful?
    • I do not know the percentage, know 47k were granted
  • Raymond – Do you know what countries these asylum seekers come from?
    • 2% were from China
  • Raymond – I am trying to get ideas on how we can do something


Gloria Leal, LULAC – Against

  • The legislation is unconstitutional, this is federal jurisdiction
  • Precedent set in Arizona vs USA; most egregious impact of this bill will be on the youth
  • Turner – You think this bill violates the ruling in Arizona vs USA?
    • Yes, the opinion mentions any state laws; ruling isn’t specifically for Arizona law
  • Turner – Creating a law that mirrors federal law doesn’t get around the decision in Arizona vs USA?
    • No, because it is still in federal jurisdiction


Denise Gillman, Immigration Law Professor UT Law – Neutral

  • There is a very serious constitutional problem with this bill
  • The bill is likely lead to local officers to perform complicated tasks usually reserved for Border patrol and this will lead to mistakes
  • Even the exemptions of asylum seekers come into play after they are arrested
  • Neave-Criado – What if a citizen cannot prove they are a citizen during stop?
    • I would assume they would get taken in, it would be a 4th amendment violation
  • Lopez – What is the percentage of people that are stopped because of their color?
    • I don’t have a percentage, but I would think it would increase it
  • Lopez – How do you think this law will benefit at all
    • Constantly changing border policies are feeding into increased danger because it encourages into the cartel brining in people to overwhelm officers



Rep. Charlie Geren

  • I have heard that the federal open border policy is an invitation, this bill is to get rid of that invitation
  • The claim of stops because of race is a scare tactic; I believe this is good legislation


SB 11 left pending