FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas., will introduce a bill Wednesday to create hefty federal penalties for illegal migrants who evade U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers during motor vehicle pursuits.
The Raul Gonzalez Officer Safety Act — named after a Border Patrol officer who died in a vehicle crash in Texas last year during pursuit — proposes making failure to yield to a border patrol officer a felony, according to details of the measure shared first with Fox News Digital. The offense could result in a life sentence if an officer is killed during an apprehension under the proposed bill.
It further requires that the Department of Justice report to Congress about how often they are prosecuting illegal aliens for endangering Border Patrol agents, ‘because these agents are risking their lives on a daily basis and yet they’re serving an administration where the political leadership not only doesn’t have their backs but undermine them on a daily basis,’ Cruz told Fox News Digital in an interview.
‘One of the worst consequences of this border crisis is the threat to public safety where traffickers will load a car or truck stacked with illegal immigrants and then engage in high speed chases with Border Patrol agents, or law enforcement, and crash the cars, crash the trucks — and we’re seeing people killed regularly,’ said Cruz, who sits on the immigration and border safety subcommittee.
According to the bill text, obtained first by Fox News Digital, evading Border Patrol officers would become a felony punishable up to two years in prison. If a border patrol agent sustains injuries during a vehicle pursuit of an illegal migrant, the offender may receive a sentence ranging from a minimum of five years to a maximum of 20 years in prison.
In cases where an agent loses their life during the pursuit, the bill prescribes a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, extending to a potential life sentence. Each of these offenses also may carry a fine of up to $250,000.
Cruz said the bill is important because the U.S. is in ‘the middle of the worst illegal immigration crisis our nation’s ever seen.’
The bill is poised to gather momentum in the GOP-led House, with Rep. Monica De La Cruz, R-Texas, introducing a companion bill to Cruz’s. The level of support among Democrats in the upper chamber, however, remains uncertain.
‘At least today, Senate Democrats have been unwilling to go along with even moderate law enforcement measures to protect life, and to secure the border. And if they continue to vote party lines, you would have to anticipate the Senate Democrats will continue to do so,’ Cruz said. ‘The consequence of that is abundantly clear.’
He added he does ‘not expect any Democrats’ on the Senate Judiciary Committee to support the bill.
‘That’s a shame because it means that they are prioritizing partisan politics above protecting innocent human life and protecting the communities who were ravaged by their open border policies,’ Cruz said.
On Monday, more than 2,200 migrants were captured on video heading toward Eagle Pass, Texas, overnight in one of the largest border crossings observed by Fox News in the past two years.
After Title 42 public health order was rescinded May 11, the CBP said the U.S. ‘returned to fully enforcing Title 8 immigration authorities to expeditiously process and remove individuals who arrive at the U.S. border unlawfully and do not have a legal basis to stay.’
Although the Biden administration’s Department of Homeland Security said border crossings dropped anywhere from 50% to 70% after the expiration of Title 42, over the past several weeks, border crossings have reportedly again begun to surge.
A Border Patrol official said that in Arizona and California, border crossings have surged to as many as 2,000 migrants apprehended daily, NBC News reported.
Subsequently, the CBP has been releasing between 100 to 200 migrants per day onto U.S. streets shortly after they cross the border. The CBP also ‘temporarily’ suspended operations at a port of entry near El Paso, Texas, so that the personnel can assist in processing an influx of migrants who have arrived at the border, the agency said.
There were 20,000 migrants in federal custody as of last month, sources told Fox News.
Fox News’ Bill Melugin and Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.