September 24, 2021

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New bill proposes first time offenders entering U.S. illegally to be charged with a felony offense

2 min read
ICE-PIC From-Richard-DrewAP

Under a proposed new bill, first-time offenders who enter the U.S. illegally would be charged with a felony.

First time offenders who enter the U.S. illegally are usually just charged with a misdemeanor – but now a new bill is aiming to change that.

Introduced by Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. who has served in Congress since 2011, the Legislation would make illegal entry into the United States a felony offense. Something Black said would act as a “disincentive” to people who are thinking of crossing the border.

“The United States government should never prioritize illegal immigrants over American citizens,” Black said in a statement. “By no longer creating incentives to come to our country unlawfully, we also discourage families from sending their children on an often dangerous journey to reach our southern border.”

A felony record would make it very difficult for any individual attempting to come into the United States legally as it would prevent that person from obtaining a green card, according to Black.

“We are a compassionate nation and we are a country filled with compassionate people. I’ve been abroad and I’ve seen the hardships that people go through, but we’ve got to have some kind of control and order,” she said.

Black’s bill, dubbed the “Zero Tolerance for Illegal Entry Act,” would also mandate employers to use the E-Verify system to ensure their employees are in the country legally and allowed to work in the United States. Also, it redirects funding from so-called sanctuary cities to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

“It’s so simple,” Black said of her bill. “It just takes some of the [issues] we’ve talked about for years and puts it all in one bill.”

Black is also running for governor in Tennessee.

Report by Pete Andrews for

Image credit: Richard Drew/AP

3 thoughts on “New bill proposes first time offenders entering U.S. illegally to be charged with a felony offense

  1. It’s about time we clear away the legal spider webs. The United States is like a big tanker. It will take some time to turn it around.

  2. There is no doubt that deportees trying to re-enter the US illegally should be subject to felony prosecution with a long prison sentence.
    For first time entrants, it is probably a good idea with a shorter sentence – perhaps a year – followed by permanent deportation with subsequent re-entry subject to the 10 year plus prison sentence.

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