Beto O'Rourke: I Would 'Absolutely' Take the Wall Down in El Paso

February 14, 2019

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D., Texas) on Thursday said he would "absolutely" take down the wall in El Paso, Texas, saying it hasn't made Americans safer.

O'Rourke, who ran an unsuccessful campaign to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) last November, spoke with MSNBC host Chris Hayes in El Paso about President Donald Trump's plan to declare a national emergency to build a border wall.

Hayes referenced freshman Rep. Dan Crenshaw's (R., Texas) tweet, asking if O'Rourke would make El Paso's border wall disappear if he could. O'Rourke said he "absolutely" would. Crenshaw's tweet was in response to O'Rourke saying, "walls don't save lives" at a rally earlier in the week.

"Here's what we know, after the Secure Fence Act, we have built 600 miles of wall and fencing on a 2,000-mile border. What that has done is not in any demonstrable way made us safer," O'Rourke said. "It has cost us tens of billions of dollars to build and to maintain and it has pushed migrants and asylum seekers and refugees to the most inhospitable, the most hostile stretches of the U.S-Mexico border."

He went on to say that over 4,000 immigrants have died, including children and women, over the last 10 years because the United States has "walled off their opportunity to legally petition for asylum to cross in urban centers like El Paso, to be with family, to work jobs, to do what any human being should have a right to be able to do."

Hayes followed up to say that O'Rourke's immigration policy view is "bolder" or in some ways "more ambitious" than building the wall. He then clarified whether O'Rourke, who is mulling a potential 2020 presidential campaign, is suggesting that none of the border security measures, including some of the border wall, have been good for the country.

"It's perverse, the response that we have to legitimate concerns and problems, international terrorism, which was orchestrated in Afghanistan by al Qaeda, carried out by people from Saudi Arabia, we punish people from Mexico at the U.S.-Mexico border, deport in one year alone 400,000 Mexican nationals from this country from a response to 9/11," O'Rourke said. "We wall off 600 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. Precisely zero terrorists or terrorist organizations have ever used the border to attack a single American."