NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A Tennessee state representative running for governor wants to make it a felony the first time anyone steps foot in the country illegally.
Rep. Diane Black (R-Gallatin), has introduced 'Zero Tolerance for Illegal Entry Act' on Tuesday. According to a statement release from Black, the act would "make illegally entering the United States for the first time a felony and would permanently mandate the E-Verify system for employers, creating less incentive for illegal immigration."
Currently, crossing into the country illegally is a misdemeanor which carries up to six months in jail. Black's bill would make the minimum sentence one year and one day. It would also take funding from sanctuary cities and redirect that money to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
"The United States government should never prioritize illegal immigrants over American citizens," Black states. "We must have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to illegal border crossings and sanctuary cities, and we must give ICE the resources they need to do their job as they protect our nation. 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."
Black has been a vocal supporter of the Trump administration and his policy on immigration. She recently introduced the "Border Wall Trust Fund Act" which would allow the Treasury Department to accept public donation to fund a wall on the Mexico border.
The Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini issued the following statement regarding the bill:
"We need a solution to a humanitarian crisis, not anti-immigrant legislation. Diane Black has had eight years in Congress to work on solutions to these kinds of complex problems and she's done nothing. Like Trump's practice of tearing immigrant children away from their parents and locking them in cages, this type of policy is not how you fix anything -- it would only serve to replace one set of terrible circumstances with another for human beings who are just trying to escape poverty, fear, and violence."
See the bill below or CLICK HERE: