First time offenders who come into the U.S. illegally are generally charged with a misdemeanor – but a new bill aims to change that.
Legislation introduced by Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., Tuesday would make illegal entry into the U.S. a felony offense, something she said would act as a “disincentive” to people who are thinking of crossing the border.
“The United States government should never prioritize illegal immigrants over American citizens,” Black said in a statement. “By no longer creating incentives to come to our country unlawfully, we also discourage families from sending their children on an often dangerous journey to reach our southern border.”


A felony record would hinder an individual attempting to come into the U.S. legally as it would prevent that person from obtaining a green card, Black told Fox News.

"We are a compassionate nation and we are a country filled with compassionate people. I've been abroad and I've seen the hardships that people go through, but we've got to have some kind of control and order," she said.

Dubbed the “Zero Tolerance for Illegal Entry Act,” Black’s bill would also mandate employers use the E-Verify system to ensure employees are in the country legally and allowed to work in the U.S. Additionally, it redirects funding from so-called sanctuary cities to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

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