As the border crisis continues to worsen, Congress is set to consider legislation that would strengthen the border and provide a solution to the soon-to-expire Title 42.

Liberal-leaning U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) voiced strong opposition toward the proposed legislation, known as the Border Security and Enforcement Act of 2023. It was authored by Texas Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, who represents Central Texas.

Roy’s legislation would replace the expiring Title 42, which was a public health order issued by the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services in March of 2020. The order allows customs officials to send illegal border-crossers from “COVID-19 impacted” areas back across the border without having to process them through the federal court system.

The Border Safety and Security Act of 2023 would require the Department of Homeland Security return illegal aliens to their native country if they don’t have valid entry documents, and gives states the ability to sue DHS for failure to enforce this requirement.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) explained his own disapproval of the measure by using quotes from Gonzales during the House Committee on Judiciary’s debate on the bill on April 19.

“[The legislation] doesn’t do anything to secure the border. So, guess what, that bill in particular, it’s dead,” Nadler said, quoting an unnamed Texas congressman.

“My Republican colleagues show they are not interested in finding real solutions to tough issues,” said Nadler. “This bill attempts to combine eight different bills, each one more cruel and heartless in the next, into one contradictory and overlapping mess … is nothing more than pure political theater.”

Ironically, Gonzales was recently censured by the Republican Party of Texas because of his weak stance on border security issues, including his failure to support the Border Enforcement and Security Act of 2023.

After the censure, presidential hopeful and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley came to Texas and called Gonzales the “border king.” She claimed no one understands the border better than him.

Nadler echoed her praise, saying Gonzales represents “42 percent of the U.S.-Mexico border.”

He urged Republican congressmen to “heed the advice of one of their own,” referring to Gonzales’ blatant refusal to support the bill. “Gonzales said, ‘If they try to jam them [border bills] through, they’re going to fail on the floor. So, probably best to get it fixed ahead of time [rather] than see it go down in burning flames on the House floor.’”

In the past, Gonzales has refused to support Republican legislation and is repeating this in his opposition of the proposed legislation to secure the border.

With Republicans holding a 222-213 majority in the House—and assuming the bill has no support from Democrats—Republicans can only afford to lose the support of four Republican members on the bill.

Soli Rice

A journalist for Texas Scorecard, Soli is a new Texan with a passion for politics. She's excited to hone her writing skills and help spread truth to Texans.