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 ReidTensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum The Trumpification of the federal courts Trump to rally evangelicals after critical Christianity Today editorial 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 Devi HarrisHarris weighing Biden endorsement: report California Democrat Christy Smith launches first TV ad in bid for Katie Hill's former House seat Steyer spokesperson: 'I don't think necessarily that Tom has bought anything' MORE (D-Calif.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden, Sanders contend for top place in new national poll Biden leads Democratic primary field nationally: poll Warren calls for Brazil to drop charges against Glenn Greenwald MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenHarris weighing Biden endorsement: report Biden, Sanders contend for top place in new national poll Biden leads Democratic primary field nationally: poll 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 BidenSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation MORE and Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockBrent Budowsky: Bloomberg should give billion to Democrats Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far Kamala Harris dropped out, but let's keep her mental health plan alive MORE among the list of those who say they wouldn’t support decriminalizing border crossings.