It appears that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has wavered on her support (or lack thereof) for the decriminalization of unauthorized border crossings.
As noted by Fox News, Kamala Harris notoriously joined her fellow 2020 contenders at the first Democratic Party presidential debate in raising hands in support of decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings. This past Friday, however, the senator seemed to reverse — or, at minimum, muddle — her position when pressed about it on “The View” by Meghan McCain.
“That is not correct. I’m not in favor of decriminalizing or not having consequence for, let me 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 cross the border as criminals, that is correct, that is correct,” Harris told McCain.
McCain responded, “I believe that if someone crosses over the border illegally, it’s illegal. And you would decriminalize it.”
“I would not make it a crime punishable by jail,” Harris shot back. “It should be a civil enforcement issue but not a criminal enforcement issue.”
Harris waffling on the issue — and, oftentimes, downright apologizing for her prosecutorial record — has become par for the course in her 2020 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. In fact, following the debate in which she attacked former Vice President Joe Biden for opposing school busing in the 1970s, she immediately changed her stance into agreeing with Biden on the same issue.
“I think of busing as being in the toolbox of what is available and what can be used for the goal of desegregating America’s schools,” Harris said. “I believe that any tool that is in the toolbox should be considered by a school district.”
If that sounds familiar, it’s because Joe Biden said something nearly identical when Kamala Harris pressed him on the issue of school busing during the presidential debate. “I did not oppose busing in America,” Biden said. “What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education. That’s what I opposed.”
Harris has had other politically opportunistic policy flips over the course of this election cycle. First, she supported the decriminalization of sex work, which was a reversal of what she wrote in her 2009 book, “Smart on Crime.” “Smart always starts with enforcing the law ― we must arrest the prostitutes as well as the pimps and the johns,” she wrote at the time. Following that, she expressed regret for helping pass a 2011 “truancy law” that criminalized parents for letting their children skip school.
“My regret is that I have now heard stories where in some jurisdictions, DAs have now criminalized the parents,” Harris said. “And I regret that that has happened and the thought that anything that I did could have led to that.”
“I realized that the system was failing these kids, not putting the services in place to keep them in school, to make it easier for parents to do what parents naturally wanted to do around parenting their children,” she continued. “And so I put a spotlight on it. As a result of doing that, we ended up increasing attendance by over 30% because we actually required the system then to kick in and do the services that they were required to do and sometimes had available, but they weren’t doing outreach with the parents. And so that was the whole purpose.”