House passes bill to strengthen penalties for undocumented immigrants fleeing authorities in motor vehicle

The House passed legislation Tuesday that would increase penalties for undocumented immigrants who flee from border security agents using a motor vehicle by a 271-154 vote.

Fifty-six Democrats backed the measure.

The legislation, sponsored by border-state Rep. Juan Ciscomani (R-Ariz.), would expand those penalties if the chase results in death or serious injury — and would make any immigrant convicted of such a crime ineligible for legal status in the U.S.

The bill is named after Border Patrol Agent Raul Gonzalez, Jr., who passed away in 2022 after his vehicle crashed while pursuing several undocumented immigrants fleeing police.

The action comes amid ongoing hostility among some Republicans toward an emerging Senate border security compromise recently endorsed by President Joe Biden.