The former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under former President Barack Obama blasted the idea of decriminalizing illegal border crossings as essentially the same as supporting “open borders.”
As the crisis at the southern border becomes more of a theme in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, some prominent candidates have come out in support of decriminalizing the act of entering the U.S. unlawfully.
Former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro (D) — who served under Obama — called for the striking of the part of U.S. law that establishes the misdemeanor charge for migrants illegally crossing into the country and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) released an immigration plan on Tuesday that promised to “virtually eliminate immigration detention.”
Another Obama administration alumni — former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson (D) — took issue with the calls to decriminalize illegal immigration from the candidates, telling the Washington Post in an article published on Tuesday that the idea was “unwise,” “unworkable” and it was “tantamount” to supporting “open borders.”
He also warned that kind of policy is not supported by “a majority of American people” and would exacerbate the border crisis further.
“That is tantamount to declaring publicly that we have open borders. That is unworkable, unwise and does not have the support of a majority of American people or the Congress, and if we had such a policy, instead of 100,000 apprehensions a month, it will be multiples of that.”
“Chain link barriers, partitions, fences, cages, whatever you want to call them, were not invented on January 20, 2017, okay?” he said last week.
His comments came as scrutiny over the facilities used to hold migrants attempting to cross the southern border has renewed.
As IJR Red previously reported, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) claimed that Border Patrol agents were forcing migrants to drink from the toilet. Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway fired off at the New York congresswoman for her remarks, saying that she had no right to criticize Border Patrol after she voted against a humanitarian aid package for the border in the House.