Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list'

Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list'

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMeeting Trump Supreme Court pick a bridge too far for some Democrats GOP senators confident Trump pick to be confirmed by November Durbin: Democrats can 'slow' Supreme Court confirmation 'perhaps a matter of hours, maybe days at most' MORE (D-Nev.) said in an interview published Tuesday that decriminalizing border crossings "is not something that should be at the top of the list" for 2020 Democrats.

“There are so many more important things to do,” the Nevada Democrat told Vice News, saying that the decriminalization of crossing the border illegally “should be way, way down at the bottom of the list.”

He added: “People want a fair immigration system. They don’t want an open-door invitation for everybody to come at once.”

Immigration has become a central issue among Democratic presidential candidates ahead of the 2020 election, with several — including former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisDebate commission adding option to cut candidates' mics: report Debates panel says changes under consideration 'to ensure a more orderly discussion' The Hill's 12:30 Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Country reacts to debate night of mudslinging MORE (D-Calif.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats say Biden survived brutal debate — and that's enough The Hill's Morning Report - Fight night: Trump, Biden hurl insults in nasty debate Trump, Biden clash over health care as debate begins MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren slams Trump over Proud Boys comments Ocasio-Cortez, Warren pull out of New Yorker Festival amid labor dispute The Hill's Morning Report - Fight night: Trump, Biden hurl insults in nasty debate MORE (D-Mass.) — calling for the elimination of a misdemeanor penalty that comes with entering the U.S. illegally.

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Those who illegally enter the U.S. can currently be prosecuted and sentenced to up to six months in prison, which critics such as Warren say has made the Trump administration’s family separations at the border possible.

The decriminalization push by Democratic White House hopefuls has raised concerns from former top Obama administration officials, who say the party is leaving itself vulnerable to Republican attacks in the 2020 race. Reid told Vice News that supporting decriminalization would “of course” be problematic in next year's election.

2020 Democrats remain sharply divided on the issue, with former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPrivacy, civil rights groups demand transparency from Amazon on election data breaches Facebook takes down Trump campaign ads tying refugees to coronavirus Trump crowd chants 'lock her up' about Omar as president warns of refugees in Minnesota MORE and Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockTwo federal judges rule in favor of mail-in voting in Montana, Alabama OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior Secretary will lead BLM after judge ousts Pendley from public lands role | Trump, Biden spar over climate change at debate | Trump official delays polar bear study with potential implications on drilling: report Interior Secretary will lead BLM after judge ousts Pendley from public lands role MORE among the list of those who say they wouldn’t support decriminalizing border crossings.