Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is following in the footsteps of some of her fellow Democrats in calling for the decriminalization of illegal border crossings.
Today, if an individual crosses the border illegally, they can be detained because it is a criminal offense to do so. If Warren has her way, an illegal border crossing would be treated as a misdemeanor and the individual would just be issued a citation, similar to a speeding ticket.
This could drastically change the situation at the border because border patrol would no longer have grounds to detain illegal immigrants unless they have committed an additional crime, such as drug trafficking.
Warren told Huff Post:
“We should not be criminalizing mamas and babies trying to flee violence at home or trying to build a better future. We must pass comprehensive immigration reform that is in line with our values, creates a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants including our DREAMers, and protects our borders.”
The senator isn’t the first to make this proposal. Her fellow 2020 Democrat and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro announced his plan to decriminalize illegal border crossings shortly after announcing his candidacy.
At the time, Warren refused to commit to Castro’s idea but said she “admired” his work and was “very interested” in learning more about it.
Paxton went as far as claiming that it could “cost lives.” Crenshaw’s response was more restrained, but he argued that Castro’s position was proof that the Democrats were the party of “open borders.”
Great idea Castro, way to look out for American citizens. Sigh.
Dems are the party of open borders. Period.
The crisis at our border is being described as in a “free fall”. We need to fix it, not give up.
Thanks for the suggestion Julian, we will take it from here. https://t.co/5X1aTMLEty
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) April 2, 2019
Warren’s support for decriminalization has legitimized Crenshaw’s concerns that major Democrats were backing relaxed border security proposals. She was hit with many of the same criticisms Castro faced.
Elizabeth Warren wants to decriminalize illegal immigration.
Beto O'Rouke wants to tear down all existing border barriers.
Could the stars of the 1st Democrat debate be any more extreme on immigration?
They're totally out of touch.
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) June 25, 2019
The State Dept has thousands of consular officers around the world who decide whether foreigners can come to the US.
If you decriminalize crossing the border illegally, why bother having that visa process?
Why bother having a border at all?
Warren is embracing madness. https://t.co/sLveX1C3mJ
— Bryan Dean Wright (@BryanDeanWright) June 26, 2019
Elizabeth Warren, who still has no immigration plan, comes out with a "plan" to decriminalize border crossings.
— Andrew Clark (@AndrewHClark) June 25, 2019
For now, it isn’t clear how many other 2020 Democrats will follow in the footsteps of Castro and Warren, though Warren’s position in the polls shows that decriminalization is becoming a widely supported idea within the party.