Rep. (D-Fla.) pushed back Thursday against former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro’s proposal to repeal a law that makes it a crime to illegally cross the border.
“I think Julian is reacting the fact that we are treating immigrants who are coming to the border requesting asylum as criminals,” Mucarsel-Powell initially told CNN.
“I think our priority is to have border security. I am not at this point willing to change that specific provision,” she said, pushing back on Castro’s proposal to repeal the regulation criminalizing border crossing entirely.
2020 hopeful Julián Castro said he wants to repeal a law that makes crossing the border illegally a crime.
Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell: “I think our priority is to have border security. I am not at this point willing to change that specific provision” pic.twitter.com/l4IAdpa5Hp
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 27, 2019
Mucarsel-Powell narrowly defeated then-Rep. (R) in the 2018 midterm elections. Her district voted for Democratic presidential nominee in 2016 by about 16 points.
Castro and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) sparred on the issue of decriminalizing border crossings and making it a civil violation in the first Democratic presidential debate Wednesday night.
O’Rourke has argued such a move would shield drug smugglers or human traffickers from prosecution, while Castro has countered that such activity would still be illegal.
During the debate, search interest for Castro spiked by more than 2,400 percent, according to data from Google Trends.