Posted on March 29, 2024

Taking Cue From Texas, Bill Would Let Louisiana Officers Arrest People Who Cross Border Illegally

Meghan Friedman,, March 26, 2024

Seeking to enter a fight with federal authorities over who can police the U.S.-Mexico border, a state Senate committee on Tuesday advanced a bill that aims to empower Louisiana police to enforce federal immigration laws, though the legislation’s effect if passed is questionable.

Senate Bill 388 could put Louisiana on the same path as Texas, where battles over who enforces immigration laws are playing out on the national stage as a law that empowers that state’s police is being challenged in the courts.

Under the bill, non-citizens living in Louisiana without legal immigration status face up to a year in prison and a $4,000 fine for a first offense, and up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine for a second offense.

The Republican-led Legislature is considering the bill less than three months after Gov. Jeff Landry ordered state agencies to collect and publish data on immigrants living in Louisiana, and after the conservative Republican governor and lawmakers agreed to spend $3 million to send Louisiana troops to the border to help Texas secure it.


The bill was amended so that it would not apply to immigrants who are necessary witnesses to or victims of certain crimes, including rape, murder and involuntary servitude.

Currently, only the federal government can enforce immigration laws. SB 388 as written would take effect if the Supreme Court upholds a similar law to grant state and local law enforcement officers in Texas that authority {snip}


Louisiana is not alone in following Texas’ lead. Other Republican-led states, including New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Tennessee, are considering similar measures to involve state and local authorities in enforcing immigration laws.

During the Senate committee hearing Tuesday, immigration lawyers and advocates said SB 388 would deplete the workforce of migrant laborers that rebuilds Louisiana after hurricanes and increase deportations that separate parents and children.