• Beto v. Warren! To Decriminalize or Not to Decriminalize Illegal Border Crossings?

    Surge Summary: In an unexpected move, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke actually opposes rival Elizabeth Warren’s plan to decriminalize illegal border crossings, claiming it could efforts against human and drug trafficking. 

    According to Jack Crowe, Bernie Sanders isn’t the only current Democratic candidate for the presidency who is expressing second thoughts about his party’s oft-repeated open-borders policy:

    Following Wednesday night’s debate, Rep. Beto O’Rourke took issue with Senator Elizabeth Warren for suggesting that decriminalizing illegal border crossings is the most effective way to solve the family separations nettle along the southern U.S./Mexico line.

    During the second round of Democratic primary debates Tuesday evening, Warren reiterated her support for eliminating the criminal statute prohibiting illegal entry into the country, which would ensure that only migrants who commit other, ostensibly more serious crimes can be detained.

    That has generally become standard issue boilerplate from the Donkey Party’s Oval Office aspirants. However …

    Asked about Warren’s position during a Wednesday appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, O’Rourke argued that the family separations that occurred at the border under the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” enforcement policy can be prevented without fundamentally altering immigration law.

    “I tried to correct the record, but wasn’t recognized to do this: Senator Warren mistakenly said that Donald Trump is using the criminal code to separate families and to cage kids and to visit this cruelty and inhumanity on our fellow human beings, and that’s just not right,” O’Rourke said.

    Hold on, was the man from El Paso actually going to take up for the despised Donald Trump? Nah. While differing flatly with Warren, the former Texas Congressman managed to get in a dig at the current President at the same time:

    “You can use the civil code, the criminal code, or you could just look to one of the cruelest, most inhumane presidents that we’ve ever had. That’s the problem that we have right now. It’s not an immigration law that’s been on the books for decades.”

    When asked along with fellow Dem primary candidates during June’s first round of debates whether they would support Representative and primary rival Julian Castro’s proposal to make illegal border crossing a civil, rather than a criminal, offense, O’Rourke is one of only three to balk.

    O’Rourke, who grew up near the southern border in El Paso, Texas, defended his opposition to Castro’s proposal by pointing out that section 1325 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, which makes crossing the border a criminal offense, is primarily being used to detain people who are suspected of human or drug trafficking. In fact, only roughly ten percent of people caught crossing the border illegally this year were prosecuted under section 1325.

    Whatever the reason, it looks like, for the moment anyway, a faint glimmer of common sense is trickling out from the policy recommendations of at least a couple of these Democratic pols. Bernie Sanders has lately made noises implying open borders may not be the way he wants to go; Beto could be following suit.

    Both men belong nowhere near the White House, but Americans who promote horse sense and rule of law can be thankful for these minor developments, in any case.

    Image: Adapted from: photo credit: Gage Skidmore <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/22007612@N05/48252460566″>Beto O’Rourke & Joe Biden</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

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