California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who Fox News is told is being considered to serve as attorney general in the upcoming Biden administration, once said that illegal immigration should be decriminalized — one of a number of radical stances he has taken on the subject.
Becerra is one of a number of individuals President-elect Joe Biden is considering to be the nation’s top lawmaker — along with Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, Fox News is told. While other names are under consideration, the source told Fox News that Jones, Yates and Becerra are most likely to be appointed.
Becerra previously served in the House of Representatives from 1993 to 2017.
If appointed, Becerra would bring a significantly different approach to questions related to illegal immigration, where he has long taken left-wing positions — and been a thorn in the Trump administration’s side on the issue.
“They are not criminals,” Becerra said. “They haven’t committed a crime against someone, and they are not acting violently or in a way that’s harmful to people. And I would argue they are not harming people indirectly either.”
He joined a handful of politicians in the Democratic Party who wanted illegal immigration to be a civil offense, rather than criminal.
“If you call them criminals, it’s a lot easier to get people to turn against them than if you call them undocumented immigrants,” Becerra said.
However, a year earlier, he had warned of prosecution for employers who helped Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with its enforcement operations in the state — warning of fines up to $10,000.
“It’s important, given these rumors that are out there, to let people know – more specifically today, employers – that if they voluntarily start giving up information about their employees or access to their employees in ways that contradict our new California laws, they subject themselves to actions by my office,” he said, according to the Sacramento Bee. “We will prosecute those who violate the law.”
He has also been a staunch opponent of a wide array of Trump administration actions on both legal and illegal immigration. He has led or joined onto a number of lawsuits, including against funding for the wall at the border, and against a policy that forbids those who crossed the border illegally from making an asylum claim.
In the last month alone, his office has filed a suit against Trump’s suspension of visas due to the economic downturn and filed a complaint against efforts to limit the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Becerra has been a strong supporter of DACA, and has taken a number of actions to keep the program, which protects some immigrants brought to the country illegally as children from deportation, even as President Trump has sought to end it.
If he were picked as AG, it would be yet another sign of how the Biden administration intends to take a dramatic swing away from the Trump administration’s approach to immigration.
Biden has promised to take a number of aggressive moves, including ending the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), raising the refugee cap from 15,000 to 125,000, expanding the number of guest worker visas, forming a “path to citizenship” for millions of illegal immigrant in the country, and imposing 100-day moratoriums on deportations.
Last week, the Biden transition team announced it had appointed Ur Jaddou, who was counsel at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under then-President Barack Obama, and is now the director of DHS Watch at America’s Voice — which calls for reforms to “put 11 million undocumented Americans on a path to full citizenship.”
Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.