WASHINGTON—Adding an unusual proposal to the searing debate over illegal immigration, U.S. Rep. John Culberson of Houston introduced a bill late Thursday to let Texas and other border states establish armed militias to catch people trying to illegally cross from Mexico and Canada.
The bill, which he called a “thunderclap,” is more than a solitary, symbolic gesture by the Republican lawmaker: It has 46 Republican co-sponsors.
It comes as the White House, Congress and local officials are becoming increasingly immersed in efforts to find the best way to secure the borders and perhaps also establish a “guest worker” program to let immigrants stay in the United States as temporary legal residents.
Gov. Rick Perry indicated he is open to Culberson’s idea.
It would essentially create an authorized version of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, the Arizona-based group that sent hundreds of volunteers to patrol the state’s border with Mexico and has plans to expand to Texas and California.