Editor’s note: The article is updated to show that the House passed House Bill 4 overnight Wednesday.
AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Texas House passed border security legislation overnight Wednesday after tension among Democrats and Republicans in the Texas House reached a boiling point Wednesday evening amid debate.
The House approved HB 4, which would create a Class B misdemeanor for anyone to enter Texas illegally. House Democrats filed dozens of amendments to the bill. With 47 amendments filed, Republican House members pushed through a motion to cut off additional amendments to the bill.
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Rep. Cody Harris (R-Palestine) filed the motion. Rep. Armando Walle (D-Houston) voiced his frustration to Harris. Several lawmakers gathered around the two men, as Walle spoke loudly and forcefully.
“Y’all don’t understand the (*expletive*) that y’all do hurts our community. It hurts us personally, bro,” Walle said.
“It hurts, it hurts us to our (*expletive*) core and y’all don’t understand that y’all don’t live in our (*expletive*) skin.”
After the tense moments on the floor, the House stood at ease shortly before 7 p.m.
Debate on the legislation started again shortly after 9:30 p.m., with House members taking up the first amendment.
The legislation would allow state law enforcement to arrest people who enter the state illegally and put them in jail for up to six months. That power is currently limited to federal law enforcement.
“This bill, once passed, will empower more of our law enforcement officers to step up and help our border help our troopers make sure that we are physically repelling illegal immigrants,” State Rep. Ellen Troxclair (R-Lakeway) said.
Opponents argue that HB 4 is unconstitutional and goes against federal law.