Sen. Elizabeth Warren Friday proposed a way to pressure Congress to tackle immigration reform: impose a moratorium on deportations.

At a forum in North Carolina, the Democratic presidential hopeful said she is “open to suspending deportations, particularly as a way to push Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.”

Immigration has emerged as a leading issue in the 2020 presidential campaign, particularly as the administration has moved limit legal immigration and toughen asylum and green card rules. A recent poll of small businesses indicated, immigration was the second most important issue for the next president to tackle behind health insurance.

Warren later told CNN: "The way I see it is we need comprehensive immigration reform. And I've got a plan for that, I want to expand legal immigration. I want to create a pathway to citizenship, not just for DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], but for all of our neighbors and friends who are here to stay. I want to see that path that is fair and achievable, and I want to stop the crisis at the border."

Sen. Bernie Sanders proposed a moratorium on deportations Thursday until past practices can be examined. He also said he would make Immigration and Customs Department part of the Justice Department. It’s currently housed by the Department of Homeland Security.

Warren, Sanders and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro all have proposed decriminalizing crossing the border without documentation.

There were an  estimated 44.5 million immigrants  living in the United States as of 2017. Between 2016 and 2017, the immigrant population increased by 2%. Approximately  23% of immigrants  are in the United States illegally.

A New York Times/Siena College poll indicated Friday Warren is trailing former Vice President Joe Biden by 12 points in North Carolina, 28% to 16%, with Sanders back 2 more points. The rest of the declared Democratic candidates are in single digits.