Honorable Pete Gallego, Chair, House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence
John S O'Brien, Director, Legislative Budget Board
HB17 by Riddle (Relating to the creation of the offense of criminal trespass by an illegal alien and to certain procedures for arresting illegal aliens for committing that criminal offense.), As Introduced
No fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
The bill would add Section 30.055 to the Penal Code to create a Class B offense for criminal trespass by an illegal alien as defined by the provisions of the bill. A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of not more than $2,000, confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days, or both.
The bill would amend the Code of Criminal Procedure to authorize a peace officer to arrest a person believed to be an illegal alien without a warrant if they are acting on reasonable suspicion that the person is or has committed another crime for which a warrant is not required and if before making the arrest the peace officer seeks and receives confirmation from the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (U.S. ICE) that the person is an illegal alien.
The bill would take effect September 1, 2011.
Local Government Impact
There could be a fiscal impact to a county that would vary depending on current procedures and the number of applicable arrests.
Denton County reported the provisions would not substantially impact the county financially unless it resulted in more cases going to trial. In terms of the cost of incarceration, if an additional charge was levied on an arrestee, it could lengthen the average stay of inmates by a few days at most since a Class B misdemeanor charge would have little impact on the ability of an inmate to get out on bond. The county would then notify the U.S. ICE and place a hold on the inmate, which the county currently does.
Bexar County estimated that if 10 individuals are charged with the offense of criminal trespass by an illegal alien, the cost to the county would be $12,000 annually; for 20 individuals, the cost to the county would be $24,000 with amounts increasing if the number of individuals increases. The cost to the county to house an inmate per day in the Bexar County jail is $50 per day. The average jail stay of a Class B misdemeanant is 24 days in the county jail. The county also stated that additional personnel may be needed to verify a person's immigration status, which may take time out of the officer's shift to perform. The cost of adding one Sheriff Deputy is $89,379 which includes salary and benefits.
The Travis County Sheriff’s Office reported the fiscal impact would be impossible to determine because it is unknown what amount of time or staffing would be necessary to seek and receive confirmation from the U.S. ICE would that a person is an illegal alien who is present in the U.S. in violation of 8 U.S.C. Section 1325 or 1326; and how the process would impact the jail population based on the actions of law enforcement agencies in the county.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) reported there would be estimated costs of $4.2 million that would include mobile fingerprint transmission equipment ($1.0 million) and new operational costs ($3.2 million). Assumptions include costs for payroll, equipment, dispatch support, training, vehicle expenses, fuel and other factors related to the significant additional time required (estimated four hours minimum) for sheriff’s deputies to request, await and receive confirmation of the immigration status of a detainee from U.S. ICE since the database relies on fingerprint identification. Assumptions for the frequency of such encounters is based on HCSO placing approximately 900 ICE detainers per month on inmates currently in the county jail for an offense unrelated to immigration and HCSO accounts for about one third of the arrests of those brought to the jail. Under the current system, inmates charged with a crime are brought to the jail charged with a crime under Texas law and are screened by the 287g and Secure Communities immigration programs, whereupon the HCSO contacts ICE.