TYLER, Texas (KETK) — The 88th Texas legislative session is in full swing. One of the top priorities is securing our border with Mexico. East Texas lawmaker Cole Hefner wrote a bill to stop people from crossing illegally into Texas.

“The United States set an all-time record high for the most illegal crossings ever. Doing more to secure the border is an emergency item this legislative session.

Cole Hefner said the State of Texas has to do something.

“The federal government is failing to do their job, so the Texas house and the state of Texas is gonna step up and do it for them,” said Hefner.

He has filed House Bill 1600 to make illegal crossing a state penalty in Texas.

The crime will be a 3rd-degree felony on top of federal crime punishment.

“We don’t know who they are, we don’t know where they are coming from, we don’t know their health status, we don’t know if they are dangerous,” said Hefner.

This is one out of nine bills that are filed for lawmakers to send what they say is a “strong message.”

“Senate bill 20 bill by my colleague in Tyler by Matt Schaefer that establishes the border protection unit,” said Hefner.

Last year we went to the border to show you what was happening firsthand.

Hefner traveled to the border on his own and says it’s not only people coming across.

“They could be bringing over fentanyl other drugs, weapons, trafficking kids, we just don’t know,” said Hefner.

East Texas may be miles away but lawmakers said the border should be on our radar. Hefner said this bill will protect Texans.