Texas Dem Supports Decriminalizing Border Crossings

Corporate lawyer Shannon Hutcheson: 'We absolutely have to' decriminalize border crossings

Shannon Hutcheson / Twitter
September 12, 2019

A Democrat running in a key Texas swing district supports decriminalizing illegal border crossings.

"Yes is the answer. We absolutely have to repeal it," Shannon Hutcheson said in reference to Section 1325, the statute declaring illegal entry into the U.S. a criminal offense.

Hutcheson is seeking the Democratic nomination in Texas's 10th Congressional District, which national party officials have listed as a potential target in 2020. Hutcheson, a corporate attorney with no previous political experience, attracted the attention of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) thanks to "big-money backing."

While Hutcheson has not been publicly endorsed by the DCCC, her campaign launch received a heavy boost from committee insiders. Hutcheson met with DCCC officials after her finance chair, Planned Parenthood board chairwoman Aimee Cunningham, gave $35,500 to the committee. Within weeks, Hutcheson appeared at a VIP fundraising dinner with Democrat megadonors headlined by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The DCCC did not respond to request for comment.

After entering the race in May, Hutcheson announced that she had raised $165,000 in just two days, with 81 percent coming from maximum donors. FEC disclosures show more than $121,000 in contributions predated Hutcheson’s May 21 announcement, suggesting that she exploited her establishment support to line up campaign contributions before officially announcing her candidacy.

Hutcheson voted in a Republican primary as recently as 2010 and has adopted a number of far-left policies since. In addition to supporting decriminalizing border crossings, Hutcheson backed a path to citizenship for "anyone who wants to be an American." Immigration is not addressed on her campaign website's "Issues" page.

The Hutcheson campaign did not respond to request for comment.

Hutcheson’s comments on immigration came during a Monday candidate forum in Austin. All three Democrats seeking the nomination declared support for an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump at the forum.

One of Hutcheson’s primary opponents, Democrat Mike Siegel, came within 5 points of defeating Republican incumbent Rep. Michael McCaul in 2018. Siegel has expressed frustration with the DCCC's hushed support of Hutcheson as well as Hutcheson's big-money connections.

"Running a top-down campaign attempting to buy a district is what McCaul did, that’s not what we need here," Siegel told the Intercept. "I can [win] with the DCCC's support, and I can also do it if the DCCC remains neutral. But if they actively work against me, they're sabotaging what is probably our best chance to win this seat."

Siegel, an attorney, has also supported extreme progressive policies, including Medicare for All, College for All, and the Green New Deal. Physician Pritesh Gandhi is running on a platform based on Medicare for All, as well as gun control. Neither returned requests for comment.

The DCCC’s support of Hutcheson is not the first time the committee’s involvement in a Texas primary has led to criticism. The DCCC was reproached by DNC chair Tom Perez in 2018 after releasing damaging opposition research against a Texas Democratic congressional candidate.