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Summary: Currently it is against the law to smuggle people using a motor vehicle, aircraft or watercraft. However, the law does not specify that the offense extends to those who smuggle people on foot across private agricultural land. Agricultural land near the border with Mexico has become very dangerous as smugglers traffic people through those lands. Without the proper tools it is difficult for law enforcement to prosecute these smugglers. HB 793 expands the scope of the human smuggling offense to include an individual who does so on agricultural land without consent of the owner. Additionally, this offense is upgraded to a third degree felony from a state jail felony if a person being smuggled or the smuggler possesses a firearm.
Analysis: HB 793 protects personal property rights by ensuring that smugglers can be properly prosecuted if they smuggle people across private agricultural property. This also holds smugglers to a higher degree of accountability and responsibility for their actions. We support HB 793.