As Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in New York City are swamped with asylum claims for the next decade, the state of Texas is looking to enhance the punishment for migrants caught crossing the border. According to a document obtained by the New York Post, the New York ICE office is “fully booked through October 2032” for appointments to process migrants released at the southern border.
The backlog means migrants may have to wait almost 10 years just to enter the immigration court process, a process that takes years to get through itself. According to the document, the Biden administration released more than 800,000 migrants into the United States in a 23-month period that ended last month.
As the New York ICE office deals with the backlog, Texas state lawmakers proposed legislation that would make it a state felony to cross the border from Mexico illegally. That means people arrested for an illegal crossing could face up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines for each violation.
The legislation would also create a new border police force that could deputize private citizens. These citizens would be allowed to participate in “unit operations and functions” and have the same criminal and civil liability immunity on the job as the licensed officers. But according to the bill’s current form, they will not have arresting power unless trained and authorized by the governor.