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Ciscomani wants federal charges for illegally transporting migrants. Bill passes U.S. House

A bill that aims to increase legal penalties for people caught smuggling migrants in their vehicles is moving forward in Washington, D.C. 

Congressman Juan Ciscomani, a Republican from southern Arizona, introduced the Agent Raul Gonzalez Officer Safety Act in September. If passed, it would impose federal charges on drivers suspected of transporting undocumented people and fleeing law enforcement within 100 miles of the border. High speed chases that end in crashes with fatalities or serious injuries could result in charges for the driver — including life sentences. The bill passed the House with 271 votes this week. 

Arizona has its own smuggling law, and fleeing law enforcement is already a felony under state law. 

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