As Congress attempts to pass a $4.5 billion emergency border funding package, Massachusetts senator and 2020 presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren has become the latest candidate to suggest decriminalizing illegal border crossings into the United States.
Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro was the first to call for the decriminalization of migrants who enter the United States at the border without proper documentation. Warren said that she agrees with Castro, adding in a statement that 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 issues at the southern border have reached a boiling point in recent weeks as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle recognized the thousands of migrants presenting themselves for asylum daily, many of them families, as a humanitarian crisis. As of May in fiscal year 2019, 593,507 migrants have been apprehended at the United States southern border between ports of entry. Fully 332,981 of those apprehensions are family units and as of June 10, DHS has referred over 52,000 unaccompanied children to Health and Human services this fiscal year.
Texas Congressman Brian Babin is co-chair of the Border Security Caucus and he joined "Trish Regan Primetime" on Wednesday.
"It's utter nonsense," said Babin. "Democrats helped pass these immigration laws in years past and it is illegal to come into our country without permission."
This debate has heated up because of reports regarding the conditions of the detention centers along the southern border. These centers have been housing migrants while they wait to be processed. Many of them are overcrowded and some are over triple their intended capacity. This has led the Trump administration to ask for additional funding from Congress, although it is up to the Democratic-controlled Congress to decide what the emergency funding will be spent on.
"If she was interested in the mamas and babes that she says then she should be providing the supplemental funding that the president is asking for," Babin said. "If the Congress will not pass laws to close these loopholes and try to disincentivize these people from coming then we will need interior enforcement."