Yang: It's a 'mischaracterization' to say Democrats are for open borders

Yang: It's a 'mischaracterization' to say Democrats are for open borders
© Aaron Schwartz

Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew YangAndrew Yang2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum Yang: 'Cancel culture' has become source of 'fear' for Americans Hundreds of thousands turn out in New York, other major cities for climate marches MORE on Friday pushed back against critics who argue that Democrats are in favor of open borders, calling it a "mischaracterization" of their positions.

"I think it's mischaracterizing the position of just about every Democrat to say that someone is open borders," Yang said in an interview with The Hill.

"I know I am very cognizant of the fact that we need to have more resources in place to secure our borders and enforce our rules as they're written," he continued.

ADVERTISEMENT

"The open borders attack to me is simply a mischaracterization, certainly of the point of view of most Democrats, I've heard them express."

Yang was responding to comments made by former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson last month.

Johnson, who served under former President Obama, criticized a number of 2020 presidential hopefuls on immigration, arguing that the decriminalization of border crossings favored by some Democrats "is tantamount to declaring publicly that we have open borders."

“That is unworkable, unwise and does not have the support of a majority of American people or the Congress, and if we had such a policy, instead of 100,000 apprehensions a month, it will be multiples of that," Johnson said, according to The Washington Post.

Yang has said that he would support the repeal of criminal penalties for individuals apprehended while crossing the border between legal ports of entry, saying it should instead be treated as a civil offense.

"Putting border crossers into our criminal justice system costs us billions of dollars and swamps a system that is not designed for it,” Yang told the Post. “I would be for criminalizing those who make a business of trafficking people in, or repeat offenders or those who enter after deportation proceedings or conviction of a crime. But individuals or families who cross the border should be treated as civil offenders.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's top adviser on Asia to serve as deputy national security adviser United Auto Workers strike against GM poised to head into eighth day Trump doubles down on call to investigate Biden after whistleblower complaint: 'That's the real story' MORE has repeatedly bashed Democrats over illegal immigration and has accused the party of being in favor of open borders.

"Democrats want Open Borders, which equals violent crime, drugs and human trafficking. They also want very high taxes, like 90%. Republicans want what’s good for America - the exact opposite!" the president said in a tweet in June.