Last updated on: 9/30/2019 9:54:47 AM PST
Should the US Decriminalize Illegal Border Crossings?
Title 8 of the federal code makes entering the United States without authorization a misdemeanor punishable by prison and fines. In Apr. 2018, the Trump Administration announced a "zero tolerance" policy for illegal entry, resulting in family separations when parents making unauthorized border crossings were prosecuted and imprisoned under Title 8 Section 1325 of the US code. Decriminalizing border crossings would make illegal entry a civil offense as opposed to a criminal one.
"I support a policy of Open Borders where movement between nations is free, like it is within the European Union. International borders should be authentic fair-trade zones where people are free to travel across borders for work, shopping, recreation, and residence. People crossing international borders would be required to present their identification at a border crossing. Only people wanted for criminal charges would be detained. People who cross without checking in at a border crossing would be prosecuted for illegal entry. Open borders will benefit the US and Latin American economies and will uphold the basic human right of freedom of movement."
Source: Howie Hawkins, "Green Party of Colorado Questionnaire," howiehawkins.us (accessed June 24, 2020)
"The fact of the matter is... if you cross the border illegally, you should be able to be sent back. It's a crime... I have guts enough to say his [Julian Castro's decriminalization] plan doesn't make sense. Here's the deal. The fact of the matter is that, in fact, when people cross the border illegally, it is illegal to do it unless they're seeking asylum. People should have to get in line. That's the problem."
Source: NBC News, "Democratic Debate Transcript: July 31, 2019," nbcnews.com, July 31, 2019
[Editor's Note: Biden raised his hand during the June 27, 2019 Democratic debate when Jose Diaz-Balart asked "If you'd be so kind, raise your hand if you think it should be a civil offense rather than a crime to cross the border without documentation?" Diaz-Balart followed-up to clarify Biden's position, however Biden did not give a direct response to the question of decriminalization verbally.]
"It is the policy of this Administration to rigorously enforce our immigration laws. Under our laws, the only legal way for an alien to enter this country is at a designated port of entry at an appropriate time. When an alien enters or attempts to enter the country anywhere else, that alien has committed at least the crime of improper entry and is subject to a fine or imprisonment under section 1325(a) of title 8, United States Code. This Administration will initiate proceedings to enforce this and other criminal provisions of the INA [Immigration and Nationality Act] until and unless Congress directs otherwise."
Source: Donald Trump, "Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation [Executive Order 13841]," whitehouse.gov, June 20, 2018
LET'S GET SOCIAL!
ProCon.org is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity.
233 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 200
Santa Monica, CA 90401
ProCon/Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.
325 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 200
Chicago, Illinois 60654 USA