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Elizabeth Warren wants to decriminalize illegal border crossing: 'We should not be criminalizing mamas and babies'

Will other top candidates follow?

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a top candidate for her party's presidential nomination, said Tuesday that she supported the decriminalization of illegal entry into the United States, according to HuffPost.

Warren becomes the second Democratic presidential candidate, and the first top contender, to call for such a drastic change. Julian Castro, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama, adopted the stance back in April.

"I agree with Secretary Castro," Warren told HuffPost. "We should not be criminalizing mamas and babies trying to flee violence at home or trying to build a better future. We must pass comprehensive immigration reform that is in line with our values, creates a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants including our DREAMers, and protects our borders."

The law Warren and Castro are targeting is Title 8, Section 1325 of the U.S. Code, "Improper entry by alien":

(a)Improper time or place; avoidance of examination or inspection; misrepresentation and concealment of facts
Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.

If that law was repealed, illegal immigrants would no longer be subject to criminal penalties for entering or attempting to enter the United States illegally. Instead, they would only be subject to civil immigration courts that decide their cases.

Hundreds of thousands of illegal border crossers have been apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border over the past three months, with numbers trending upward.

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