by Molly Prince
Top Democrats running in Texas elections are calling for the decriminalization of illegally crossing the United States border.
While campaigning in south Texas, Rep. Robert O’Rourke who is running against incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz for U.S. Senate, declared that illegal entry should not be a criminal matter.
“These asylum seekers — penniless, at wit’s end, after surviving three weeks on the road, very often with their children — then attempt to do what I think any human would do, which is request asylum in between the ports of entry,” O’Rourke said. “We should not criminalize that.”
O’Rourke failed to mention that entering the United States via ports of entry and requesting asylum is not currently a crime. Individuals who sneak into the United States between ports of entry commit a criminal act.
Other Democratic candidates expressed similar sentiments while on the campaign trail during the weekend.
“The United States has built a system on incarcerating migrants,” said congressional candidate Veronica Escobar, who is running to fill O’Rourke’s seat. “We really have to evaluate the way that we’ve criminalized migration.”
“When we treat asylum-seekers like criminals, the next step is we have to jail them, we have to incarcerate them,” Escobar continued. “It’s incredibly costly.”
Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Lupe Valdez, who was formally a U.S. Customs agent, used her experience to argue that illegal immigrants are not a public threat.
“The majority of people are not coming in to do harm,” Valdez said. “We still have to have some kind of checking and verifying, but I don’t think coming in here undocumented should be a criminal issue.”
Despite calling for decriminalization, the aforementioned Democrats still believe illegal border entry should result in some form of penalty such as a citation or civil violation, reported The Huffington Post.
The overwhelming majority of individuals seeking asylum in the United States submit fraudulent claims before illegally going into hiding somewhere in the country, according to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
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