Democratic lawmaker pushes back on Castro's call to repeal law making illegal border crossings a crime
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Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-PowellDebbie Mucarsel-PowellSecond Democrat representing Trump district backs impeachment The House Democrats who voted to kill impeachment effort House votes to kill impeachment effort against Trump MORE (D-Fla.) pushed back Thursday against former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro’s proposal to repeal a law that makes it a crime to illegally cross the border.

“I think Julian is reacting the fact that we are treating immigrants who are coming to the border requesting asylum as criminals,” Mucarsel-Powell initially told CNN.

“I think our priority is to have border security. I am not at this point willing to change that specific provision," she said, pushing back on Castro’s proposal to repeal the regulation criminalizing border crossing entirely.


Mucarsel-Powell narrowly defeated then-Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloOvernight Energy: Warren edges past Sanders in poll of climate-focused voters | Carbon tax shows new signs of life | Greens fuming at Trump plans for development at Bears Ears monument Carbon tax shows new signs of life in Congress Democratic lawmaker pushes back on Castro's call to repeal law making illegal border crossings a crime MORE (R) in the 2018 midterm elections. Her district voted for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Polls flash warning signs for Trump Polls suggest Sanders may be underestimated 10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall MORE in 2016 by about 16 points.

Castro and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) sparred on the issue of decriminalizing border crossings and making it a civil violation in the first Democratic presidential debate Wednesday night.

O’Rourke has argued such a move would shield drug smugglers or human traffickers from prosecution, while Castro has countered that such activity would still be illegal.

During the debate, search interest for Castro spiked by more than 2,400 percent, according to data from Google Trends.