Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke (Texas) said Friday that he does not support his party's leaders going along with President Donald Trump's call for enhanced border security.
O'Rourke, who is running for the Senate against incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R.), argued that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) do not understand the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border. Asked whether there is enough need for border security that he would support some funding for a wall, O'Rourke said there is not, and he chided Schumer and Pelosi for failing to understand the situation in Texas.
"Do you support the leadership of your party, and do you recognize that need for some enhanced wall?" CNN's David Gregory asked.
"I don't, and with all due respect to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, neither of them understand Texas nor do they understand the U.S.-Mexico border," O'Rourke said. "We do not need walls."
Congress passed an omnibus budget deal last month that apportioned $1.6 billion to border security, and $1.3 billion will go toward barrier construction. O'Rourke criticized the idea of a border wall for being impractical and inconvenient for Texas landowners.
"Those walls will be built on the private land of our fellow Texans here on ranches, on farms, on homesteads," he said. "We'll have to use eminent domain to build a wall miles into the interior of the United States at a time that we don't need it [and when] every single expert who has looked at this issue says it will not do what it's intended to do."
O'Rourke added that immigration reform should "reflect our values," pointing to Texas' ethnic diversity.
"Instead, we need to fix our immigration laws and make sure that those laws reflect our values, our interests, and look like Texas, the most diverse state," he said.
O'Rourke added that Trump's decision to send National Guard troops to the border with Mexico will not help the U.S. immigration system in general.
"We don't need to militarize the border," he said. "We need to move forward with our basic fundamental strengths and success, which is premised in large part upon those who want to come to this country, contribute to our success, make us a stronger and safer and, yes, more secure country."