Garland On If Illegal Border Crossing Should Still Be A Crime, If He’ll Prosecute: ‘I Don’t Know’

Biden Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland refused to commit to continuing to prosecute illegal border crossing when pressed on the issue by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) during the first day of confirmation hearings.

“Do you believe that illegal entry at America’s borders should remain a crime?” Hawley asked.

“Well, I haven’t thought about that question,” Garland responded. “I just haven’t thought about that question. I think, you know, the president has made clear that we are a country of, with borders, and with a concern about national security. I don’t know of a proposal to decriminalize, but still make it unlawful to enter. I just don’t know the answer to that question. I haven’t thought about it.”

“Will you continue to prosecute on unlawful border crossings?” Hawley asked.

“Well, this is again, a question of allocation of resources,” Garland responded. “We will, the department will prevent unlawful crossing. I don’t know. I you know, I have to admit I just don’t know exactly what the conditions are and how this is done. I think if I don’t know what the current program even is with respect to this, if there, so I assume that the answer would be yes, but I don’t know what the issues around surrounding it are.”

Garland’s non-committal answers come as the U.S. southern border is in crisis mode with thousands of illegal immigrants apprehended every day for unlawfully trying to enter the country.

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): Judge Garland, I’d like to talk a little bit more about the law enforcement challenges at the border, which I know a number of other members have brought up with you. Just a fundamental question. Do you believe that illegal entry at America’s borders should remain a crime?

MERRICK GARLAND, BIDEN AG NOMINEE: Well, I haven’t thought about that question. I just haven’t thought about that question. I think, you know, the president has made clear that we are a country of, with a borders, and with a concern about national security. I don’t know of a proposal to decriminalize, but still make it unlawful to enter. I just don’t know the answer to that question. I haven’t thought about it.

HAWLEY: Will you continue to prosecute on unlawful border crossings?

GARLAND: Well, this is again, a question of allocation of resources. We will, the department will prevent unlawful crossing. I don’t know. I you know, I have to admit I just don’t know exactly what the conditions are and how this is done. I think if I don’t know what the current program even is with respect to this, if there, so I assume that the answer would be yes, but I don’t know what the issues around surrounding it are.

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