Presidential candidate Julian Castro accused fellow Democrats, including the former DHS chief under President Barack Obama, of pushing right-wing talking points by saying his immigration plan would be open borders.
"Secretary Castro, you think it should no longer be a crime to cross the U.S. border illegally," CNN's Don Lemon said. "President Obama's Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, whom you served with, says that is a public declaration that the border is ‘effectively open to all.' How is he wrong?"
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"Open borders is a right-wing talking point and frankly I'm disappointed that some folks, including some folks on the stage, have taken the bait," Castro replied. He went on to said he would decriminalize border crossings and put all illegal immigrants who haven't committed a serious crime on a pathway to citizenship.
Johnson has commented on Castro's plan by saying it's effectively open borders.
"That is tantamount to declaring publicly that we have open borders," Johnson told the Washington Post of Castro's plan. "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."
Seven 2020 Democratic candidates have said that they would not decriminalize border crossings, including former Vice President Joe Biden and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Other frontrunners have said they would decriminalize the border, including Sens Bernie Sanders (I., Vt), Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.).