Posted on April 2, 2024

Republican-Controlled Idaho House Passes Texas-Style Immigration Bill

Clark Corbin, Idaho Capital Sun, March 29, 2024

The Idaho House of Representatives voted 53-15 on Friday to pass a new immigration bill that includes lengthy passages that were copied and pasted word-for-word from a controversial Texas law that is tied up in legal challenges.

Rep. Jaron Crane, R-Nampa, sponsored House Bill 753, which was fast-tracked in the Idaho House of Representatives after it was introduced on Wednesday.

The bill creates a new crime of illegal entry into the state, which makes it a crime for non U.S. citizens to enter Idaho directly from a foreign country outside of an official port of entry. The bill also allows local law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of individuals and allows for a magistrate judge to order people who violate the bill to return to their country of origin.

There are exceptions in the bill for people who have a legal presence in the U.S. such as through a work visa, people who have been granted asylum and for people who were granted benefits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program between 2012 and 2021.

Crane described the bill as a law-and-order bill, designed to enhance the powers of local law enforcement officers and magistrate judges to allow them to enforce immigration laws that have previously been the purview of the federal government.

“This is not targeting any demographic; this is targeting people that are here illegally,” Crane said in his floor debate Friday. “If you are here legally you have nothing to worry about.”


But several legislators pointed out that Texas Senate Bill 4, which Idaho’s new bill is modeled after, has been blocked from taking effect as legal challenges around the Texas law play out.


Five Republicans – Pickett and Reps. David Cannon, R-Blackfoot; Clay Handy, R-Burley; Steve Miller, R-Fairfield; and Jack Nelsen, R-Jerome – joined all of the Democrats who were present in voting against the bill.

House Bill 753 heads next to the Idaho Senate for consideration.