Pete Buttigieg in Democratic candidates debate in Detroit Michigan, July 30-31, 2019


On Immigration: Crossing the border illegally should still be illegal

Q: You're in favor of getting rid of the law that makes it a crime to come across the border illegally. Why won't that just encourage more illegal immigration?

BUTTIGIEG: When I am president, illegally crossing the border will still be illegal. We can argue over the finer points of which parts of this ought to be handled by civil law and which parts ought to be handled by criminal law. But we've got a crisis on our hands. Americans want comprehensive immigration reform. We've been talking about the same framework for my entire adult lifetime, protections for DREAMers; making sure that we have a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented; cleaning up lawful immigration. We know what to do. The problem is we haven't had the will to get it done in Washington.

Q: But didn't you raise your hand in the last debate, to decriminalize crossing the border illegally?

BUTTIGIEG: If fraud is involved, then that's suitable for the criminal statute. If not, then it should be handled under civil law.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) Jul 30, 2019

The above quotations are from Democratic candidates debate in Detroit Michigan, July 30-31, 2019.
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