Delaney: I Wouldn’t Decriminalize Border Crossings

By Melanie Arter | July 8, 2019 | 6:17 PM EDT

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

( - Democratic presidential candidate and former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that unlike his fellow Democratic presidential contenders, he wouldn’t decriminalize border crossings.

“So I wouldn't decriminalize border crossings, but I would make it illegal to separate children from their families. What I would do as president is the two things that we have to focus on,” he said.


Furthermore, Delaney said like President Donald Trump, he’d like to see some changes to the Flores Agreement, but he doesn’t want to see children for long at all.

When asked whether he would change the Flores Agreement in terms of the limitation on the amount of time children can be held, Delaney said, “Yes, I would. I mean we have to treat children--”



“You would allow them to be detained for longer?” CBS host Margaret Brennan asked.

“I don't want children to be detained long at all. I want to go the other way. We have to treat people who cross our borders with a measure of dignity. Right? It has to be reflective of our values, but we should not lose sight of the two things that we have to focus on. We need comprehensive immigration reform. It should have passed in 2013,” Delaney said.

“I think with the right president focusing on this in the first hundred days of an administration, we can get it done, but the other thing we need to do, Margaret, is we need to fix what's going on in those Central American countries. My wife and I, we were down at the border at the beginning of the year,” he said.

“We took 14 law students and two law professors for a week and went into the largest detention facility in this country, and what we're doing, we're helping asylum seekers make their case,” Delaney said. “And when you listen to the stories from these people, you realize that everyone is leaving for the right reason.

“They feel threatened, their children are threatened, and unless we do things to rebuild civil society in the three Central American countries, we're going to continue to have this refugee crisis,” he said.

“So, I've called for something called Plan Central America, which is very similar to something called Plan Colombia that we did a few decades ago where we actually get all the relevant countries around the table, NGOs that can operate in these countries, and we fix the problem,” the former congressman said.

“Because we actually have to focus on that or we will continue to see a migration, kind of refugee crisis at our southern border,” he said.



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