State Sen. Lance Bell (R-Pell City) plans to file legislation again in the upcoming session that would require law enforcement in Alabama to collect fingerprints and DNA of illegal immigrants in custody.

The bill would require a law enforcement agency in Alabama that has an illegal alien in its custody to collect a full set of fingerprints and a DNA sample from the individual before being released. The bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the 2023 session but didn't make it to the full Senate for a vote. 

Bell told 1819 News in an interview on Wednesday the idea for the legislation came from a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border with other Alabama elected officials in 2023.

"What an education we received. It was unbelievable. It's a national security crisis. It's an economic crisis and it's a humanitarian crisis. Our leadership in D.C. should be ashamed of themselves. The safety of our country is at risk," Bell said. "We're a border state. There's no such thing now as a state in the United States that's not considered a border state because as the officials in Texas told us, they're not staying here. They're spreading out. They're going everywhere." 

Bell said in a committee meeting in May when the bill was first discussed that Border Patrol and Homeland Security agents requested "we need to do a better job on a database statewide of the illegal aliens to track." 

Bell told 1819 News he knew of one instance of DNA from an illegal alien convicted of murder in Alabama being used to connect the murderer to another unsolved case in California.

"He was on a murder in California and a murder in Alabama under two different names. We've got to be able to identify these bad people that are here, these criminals that are here," Bell said. "Even though under the current (administration's) plan, we're not stopping them there (at the border), if they come into our community and they're illegal, let's get their DNA."

The U.S.-Mexico border has also seen a surge in Chinese illegal aliens attempting to enter the country over the last year.

"But we've also got to protect our country and look at the Chinese that are coming across too. They're not here for a cake-baking class," Bell said. "Our President is a joke when it comes to the border. He has no clue and it's sad. It's killing our country. It's ten times worse than what you read in the papers or see on TV."

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