Louisiana Legislature Passes Bill Cracking Down On Illegal Immigration

The Louisiana House of Representatives approved a bill Wednesday that would grant state and local law enforcement the authority to arrest and detain individuals who entered the United States illegally. The measure passed with a 74-23 vote in the Republican-controlled chamber and now heads back to the Senate for concurrence before reaching the desk of Gov. Jeff Landry (R) who is expected to sign it into law.

Senate Bill 388 sponsored by Sen. Valarie Hodges (R) would create the crime of “illegal entry or reentry” into Louisiana punishable by up to one year in prison and a $4000 fine for a first offense. Repeat offenders could face up to two years behind bars and a $10000 penalty.

Proponents of the legislation argue that it is necessary to protect U.S. citizens, accusing the Biden administration of failing to adequately enforce immigration laws. “We are being invaded and we’ve learned that many of those entering our country are known terrorists criminals human traffickers and drug cartel members” Hodges said in a statement.

But leftists have, of course, complained about border security, claiming the bill is unconstitutional, encroaches on federal authority over immigration enforcement and will fuel negative rhetoric toward migrants. The Biden administration has criticized similar laws in other states as illegally infringing on federal responsibilities — responsibilities the Biden administration has succeeded in not addressing.

If signed into law, the measure would take effect only if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds a comparable Texas law currently facing legal challenges. Louisiana’s bill is part of a broader trend of Republican-led states pushing tougher immigration enforcement measures amid ongoing disputes with the Democratic president over border security.