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Arizona House Passes Bill Legalizing Killing of Migrants Trespassing On Private Property

Lawmaker says the bill closes a loophole used to facilitate human trafficking

Arizona House Passes Bill Legalizing Killing of Migrants Trespassing On Private Property

Arizona lawmakers have advanced new legislation that would make it legal to use lethal force against illegal aliens who are trespassing or attempting to trespass on their property.

House Bill 2843 would expand the state’s “Castle Doctrine” law, which allows deadly force against a person who is trespassing or breaking into one’s home.

Under current Arizona law, lethal force is only permitted if an intruder is both on one’s land and in their residence or structure designed for habitation. The language of the proposed legislation amends the law to allow deadly force if an intruder is simply on a person’s land.

Rep. Justin Heap told the House Judiciary Committee that the bill was crafted to close a loophole that has resulted in “increasingly larger numbers of migrants or human traffickers moving across farm and ranch land.”

HB 2843, which passed the state’s Republican-led house by a strict party-line vote, heads to the senate as an Arizona rancher faces criminal charges for shooting and killing an illegal alien who trespassed on his ranch on Jan. 30.

George Kelly used an AK-47 rifle to shoot at roughly eight migrants who had entered his property after illegally crossing the U.S. southern border from Mexico.

“Language like ‘and’ ‘or’ ‘either’ … that one word can completely change the meaning of how this law is then applied,” Heap said. “If a farmer owns 10,000 acres of farmland, his home may be a half a mile away from where he is, and if he sees someone on his land, can he approach them and (remove) them from his property? This is an amendment to fix that.”

Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, is widely expected to veto the bill should it pass the senate.

Illegal migration to the U.S. has been a growing problem since 2021, after President Joe Biden undertook dozens of executive actions that have fueled a border crisis.

Since late 2021, multiple states have been busing and flying migrants to other states self-described as “sanctuary states” in a bid to relieve the burden on jurisdictions close to the border.

Since assuming office in January, Hobbs’ administration has shipped 26,513 migrants out of the state, at a cost of roughly $5.7 million.

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