Louisiana state capital building.
Louisiana's following the footsteps of other GOP-led states by proposing a bill that would make it a crime to illegally enter or re-enter the state. Louisiana House of Representatives/Facebook

Following the footsteps of other Republican-led states, Louisiana's senate voted this week to advance a bill that would empower state and local law enforcement to arrest and jail people in the state who entered the U.S. illegally.

Under the recently proposed bill, it would become a crime to "illegally" enter or re-enter into the state. Illegal re-entry includes people who were previously "denied admission, excluded, deported or otherwise removed from the U.S."

Anyone who violates the law would 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. At the same time, the bill would authorize Gov. Jeff Landry to make an agreement with states like Texas to participate in a series of state-led border security efforts.

Just like other states who are vying for similar legislation to pass, proponents of the bill blame the Biden administration for the unprecedented influx of migrants through the southern border. They argue that recent events leave them no option but to take matters into their own hands.

"I think all of us here know that we have a crisis at the border and our federal government is not doing anything to help the states," Sen. Hodges said during floor debate Monday.

Supporters of the measure believe that the provision will help prevent illegal border crossings by sharing information and "state resources to build surveillance systems and physical barriers to deter illegal activity along the border."

In contrast, opponents say the state would not only be abusing its authority, but the legislation itself could increase racial profiling and could clog court systems.

"It's going to create a backlog in our courts, it's going to drain state resources, and it's not going to actually reduce crime or make Louisiana any safer," Huey Fischer Garcia, a staff attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said during a hearing on the bill last month.

The bill now is awaiting approval from the house and then the governor, who Hodges says supports the measure.

Louisiana's proposal comes after several other conservative states look for harsher immigration laws.

The most notorious one is Texas' SB4, which allows state officials to arrest and detain people they suspect of entering the country illegally. That law is currently on hold after three judges blocked it while they consider whether it is constitutional.

"We think that Texas already has the constitutional authority to do this, but we also welcome a supreme Court decision that would overturn the precedent set in the Arizona case," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told CNN.

If SB4 reaches the Supreme Court, like Abbott suggested, the justices will get a chance to revisit a historic ruling that largely struck down Arizona's "show me your papers" law and reaffirmed the federal government's "broad, undoubted power" over immigration.

Meanwhile, if the state house and the Governor of Louisiana approve the bill, they would have to wait for the Supreme Court to give its decision to see if they have the right to enforce it or not.

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