Harris, Meghan McCain spar over decriminalization of border crossings

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (D-Calif.) and “The View” co-host Meghan McCainMeghan Marguerite McCainMeghan McCain slams Cuomo, de Blasio as ‘an utter disgrace’ following another night of unrest in NYC Crowds flock to Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks over Memorial Day weekend CNN’s Cuomo pulls out massive cotton swab to tease brother after live COVID-19 test MORE sparred on Friday over the 2020 presidential candidate’s views on decriminalizing border crossings.

During an appearance on the show, McCain asked Harris about her stance on illegal border crossings and whether they should be decriminalized.

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The co-host of “The View” was referring to a moment in the Democratic primary debate last month when Harris was one of eight Democrats on stage who raised their hand when asked if they supported decriminalizing border crossings.

“I’m going to try to make this as quick and dirty as possible,” McCain said to Harris. “You’re for decriminalizing border crossings, you’re one of the people that raised your hand at the debate. Do you agree with [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezAttorney says 75-year-old man shoved by Buffalo police suffered brain injury How language is bringing down Donald Trump Highest-circulation Kentucky newspaper endorses Charles Booker in Senate race MORE (D-N.Y.)] that we should get rid of [the Department of Homeland Security] altogether?”

“That is not correct,” Harris replied. “Let me just be very clear: we have to have a secure border. But I am in favor of saying that we’re not going to treat people who are undocumented [and] cross the borders as criminals, that is correct.”

She added: “What we cannot do is have any more policy like we have under this current president that is about inhumane conduct, that is about putting babies in cages, that is about separating children from their parents and we have got to have policy that is about passing comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway toward citizenship.”

McCain pressed Harris to clarify her stance, saying her views were “a little confusing.”

“I would not make it punishable by jail,” Harris said. “It should be a civil enforcement issue, but not a criminal enforcement issue.”

The push by many Democratic presidential contenders to decriminalize border crossings has raised concerns from former top Obama administration officials that the party is leaving itself vulnerable to Republican attacks in the 2020 race.

McCain also questioned Harris on Ocasio-Cortez’s suggestion to consider dissolving the Department of Homeland Security.

“We need to restructure and reform it,” Harris said. “It has been found through federal audits to be one of the most dysfunctional of the federal agencies, so we need to deal with it and fix it, but I do not believe in getting rid of it.”

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