2020 Democratic presidential primary hopeful Amy Klobuchar said on Sunday that President Trump’s controversial immigration raids were not about making the country safer, but about distracting the public from the real issues making the news.
"If you wanted to go after security risks, and there are people who are security risks, why would you alert them and say you're doing this on a Sunday and do it two weekends in a row?" Klobuchar, a senator from Minnesota, said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” "Why? Because you want to make news, right?"
On immigration, Klobuchar – one of the most moderate candidates vying for the Democratic nomination – said that if she won the White House she would look into making an illegal border crossing into a federal misdemeanor offense. Her statement separates her from some of her more progressive rivals who are calling for the abolition of any charges against people who make an unauthorized border crossing.
"I support different enforcement policies," Klobuchar said. "But I don't support open borders and simply getting rid of this statute."
The Trump administration has issued a “zero tolerance” policy toward unauthorized crossings, ordering prosecutors to bring criminal charges against migrants crossing the border.
Klobuchar’s comments come as federal immigration officials launched raids in a number of major urban areas across the country in pursuit of undocumented immigrants,
ICE resumed its previously announced plan to apprehend thousands of undocumented immigrants who've been given orders to leave the country, targeting people living in at least 10 cities. The ICE raids began late Saturday and into the early morning hours on Sunday in "a number of jurisdictions," not just New York City, a senior administration official confirmed to Fox News.
Acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli said the main goal of the raid was to apprehend violent criminals, but that "will not be the exclusive limit of any operation."
ICE Acting Director Matthew Albence said Friday that targets were on an "accelerated docket" of immigration court cases for predominantly Central Americans who recently arrived at the U.S. border in unprecedented numbers. Similar operations occurred in 2016 under President Obama and in 2017 under President Trump.
Fox News Travis Fedschun, Ronn Blitzer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.