Warren: I Would Decriminalize Illegal Border Crossings

'The point is not about criminalization'

July 30, 2019

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) confirmed she would decriminalize illegal border crossings if she is elected president during Tuesday's second Democratic presidential debate.

Warren emphasized her solution to the current crisis at the southern border would be to decriminalize border crossings.

"Senator Warren, you say the provision making illegal border crossings a crime is totally unnecessary. Please respond," moderator Dana Bash asked Warren.

"So the problem is that right now, the criminalization statute is what gives Donald Trump the ability to take children away from their parents," Warren said. "It's what gives him the ability to lock up people at our borders. We need to continue to have border security and we can do that, but what we can't do is not live our values. I've been down to the border. I have seen the mothers. I have seen the cages of babies. We must be a country that every day lives our values."

Bash cut Warren off to ask, "Just to clarify, would you decriminalize illegal border crossings?"

"Yes," Warren responded. "The point is not about criminalization. That has given Donald Trump the tool to break families apart," she added.

"One way to fix it is to decriminalize. That's the whole point," she later reiterated.

A poll released in mid-July showed decriminalizing border crossings was favored by only 45 percent of Democratic voters with 47 percent of Democratic voters disapproving of the policy. With all voters support for decriminalization was even lower: only 27 percent of voters agreed with decriminalizing border crossings.