Former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Democrats are playing with fire by attempting to abandon immigration laws that have been in place “for about 100 years or so.”
“Democrats have to understand that we do have to have — borders mean something,” Mr. Holder told former Obama adviser David Axelrod during a CNN interview Saturday.
The men discussed the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates and their aim to turn illegal entry into the U.S. a civil, rather than a criminal, offense.
“No, I don’t think that’s right,” Mr. Holdersaid. “The law that is on the books has been there for about 100 years or so. It might send the wrong signal, but it would certainly take a tool away from the Justice Department that it might to use in an individual case and for some reason. I don’t know, there’s some human trafficking component there. There might be some other reason why you want to prosecute somebody. But it is up to, I think, the Justice Department to use its discretion in an appropriate way.”
Mr. Holder said he did not agree with many of the Trump administration’s priorities, but that Democrats should concentrate on realistic and practical alternatives.
“I think that we need to look for solutions to the problems that we confront that are that are consistent with who were are as a party, consistent with the Democratic tradition, but also the kinds of things that we’re going to be able to deliver to people,” he said. “People don’t believe in government because they’re promised so much and then we frequently don’t deliver for them. So I hope that we’ll just, as I said, realistic but consistent, again, with our progressive principles.”