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Bill from Arizona Congressman Juan Ciscomani would make fleeing law enforcement a federal offense

A new  bill from Congressman Juan Ciscomani aims to create harsher legal punishments for drivers fleeing law enforcement within 100 miles of the border. 

The southern Arizona Republican has a far-reaching district that includes parts of the U.S.-Mexico border. He says Border Patrol agents and local law enforcement are engaging in high-speed vehicle pursuits of drivers suspected of transporting undocumented people. 

"This bill would essentially be able to penalize and punish smugglers that flee federal law enforcement and cause some sort of accident that ends in someone perishing," he said. 

Ciscomani’s bill would impose federal charges on the driver when vehicle pursuits end in fatalities or serious injuries. Intentionally fleeing law enforcement is already a felony under Arizona law and the state also has its own smuggling law.

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.