Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke stood by his refusal to call for decriminalizing crossing the U.S.-Mexico border by undocumented migrants during Tuesday night’s debate, saying he will instead overhaul immigration policy enough that “I expect people who come here to follow our laws.”
O’Rourke says that if he is elected president, he will protect those seeking U.S. asylum and people brought to the country illegally as children.
Other presidential candidates are calling for full decriminalization. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says current laws have given President Donald Trump “the power to break families apart” at the border.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he doesn’t consider women and children who walked thousands of miles criminals, and says Trump has demonized all immigrants.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock says decriminalizing may “play into Donald Trump’s hands.”