Senate State Affairs met on November 9 to discuss SB 4 (Perry) Relating to prohibitions on the illegal entry into or illegal presence in this state. The bill was voted out of committee (7-3).


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 4 (Perry) Relating to prohibitions on the illegal entry into or illegal presence in this state by a person who is an alien, the enforcement of those prohibitions and certain related orders, including immunity from liability and indemnification for enforcement actions, and authorizing or requiring under certain circumstances the removal of persons who violate those prohibitions; creating criminal offenses

  • Perry – Adds two new criminal offenses, illegal entry/re-entry
  • Menendez – Have a letter from a law group with concerns about this bill; is this bill enforceable by any peace officer/judge or magistrate across the state?
    • Perry – Border is where a majority of this will take place; does not change probable cause, so do not see this being used as an offence for the interior
  • Menendez – Does the bill envision that the officer has to see the person cross?
    • Perry – That is the practical application of the law; if there is another offence, and then you find they are here unlawfully, then that would be another offence
  • Menendez – Bill does not provide guidance to how someone is supposed to be removed from this state; how would this be put into practice?
    • Perry – Not removing anyone; if first-time offence and willing to go back to country of origin, will defer trial; if chose not to, will follow the court system
  • Menendez – Aware of any constitutional lawyer that this bill is constitutional?
    • Perry – Have not heard from one about the constitutionality of this; believe we have made sure it protects civil liberties; is about keeping Texans safe
  • Menendez – Relying on the invasion clause to ensure we have the authority to enforce this?
    • Perry – Yes; invasion clause states includes “an imminent threat”
    • Perry – This is not a bill the Senate enjoys carrying, but we need to address this issue
  • Menendez – Bill requires a suspect crossing over needs to be an “alien” as defined as a person who is a non-citizen?
    • Perry – Correct
  • Menendez – How does DPS make this determination of who is an “alien?” Would they not have to ask their immigration status?
    • Perry – Officers will need to use their discretion; hope this is a deterrent to legal ports of entry; if they see them crossing, then that is reasonable suspicion


Luis Figueroa, Every Texan – Against

  • This will be increased militarization without much of an impact on deterrents
  • Immigration needs to be handled nationally
  • Think this violates the federal immigration clause; needs to be in the federal immigration


Lisa Graybill, National Immigration Law Center – Against

  • This bill is preempted by federal law; previous ordinances were determined to be preempted by federal law
  • Turns a civil offence to a state crime
  • This will not pass muster in court, the invasion clause is about foreign governments
  • Bill will lead to racial profile and will direct our resources away from addressing violent crime


Bill Voted out of Committee (7-3)