El Paso County Commissioner David Stout, chairman of the Texas Border Coalition (TBC), will provide testimony urging the Texas House of Representatives to reject House Bill 4. This bill, if passed, would classify illegal entry into Texas from Mexico as a criminal misdemeanor. Commissioner Stout’s testimony is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 9, before the House State Affairs Committee in Capitol Extension Room E2.016 of the State Capitol Building.
Commissioner Stout will be available to discuss his testimony with media representatives between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. To schedule a one-on-one interview, please get in touch with Julie Hillrichs at (972) 971-0117 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) anticipates that House Bill 4 will lead to the apprehension of an estimated 70,000 migrants, potentially resulting in their incarceration in county jails for up to six months. This influx will put significant strain on border communities, including the need for public defenders for those facing trial, adding to the financial burden of incarceration.
The Office of Court Administration foresees increased demands on border county courts, necessitating additional funding for indigent defense and potentially establishing new county courts-at-law.
TBC conducted a survey of its member counties to assess the potential costs of House Bill 4. While the response rate was incomplete, it identified cost patterns that should inform an estimate of the bill’s overall expenses.
The average daily cost of detaining an individual is $90, and the average cost of legal representation for indigent clients is $600. The projected 70,000 apprehensions under House Bill 4 would result in estimated daily detention expenses of $6.3 million.
Total costs for detaining individuals for three to six months range from $567 million to $1.134 billion.
There are additional expenses that Texas counties would have to bear. For instance, El Paso County has determined it would require a new jail with 400 beds for $162 million, as well as almost $60 million annually (including $25 million for operations, $14.4 million for prosecution, indigent defense, and court costs, and $19.7 million for lost federal jail revenue).
TBC also has concerns about the lack of basic due process provisions in HB 4, which would compound the erosion of civil liberties in communities across the state, particularly in border counties.
El Paso County Commissioner and Texas Border Coalition Chairman David Stout
Media Availability – Texas House Bill 4
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023
Capitol Extension Room E2.016
Texas Capitol Building
1100 Congress Ave.
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About the Texas Border Coalition (TBC)
The Texas Border Coalition (TBC) is a collective voice of border mayors, county judges, and economic development commissions focused on issues that affect 2.8 million people along the Texas-Mexico border region and economically disadvantaged counties from El Paso to Brownsville. TBC is working closely with the state and federal government to educate, advocate, and secure funding for transportation, immigration and border security, workforce development, economic development, and health care. For more information, visit the coalition website at www.texasbordercoalition.org. Follow TBC on Facebook and Twitter [#TXBorderCoalition] to keep current on the latest news about the coalition and its activities.