Democratic presidential candidate Robert Francis ‘Beto' O'Rourke expressed disagreement with the term "catch-and-release" as it applied to illegal immigrants, instead preferring to call it "helping those who are seeking asylum in this country to follow our laws" during an appearance on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday.
"So there are about 16,000 migrants in U.S. detention facilities right now. What should happen to them?" host Margaret Brennan asked.
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"Most of those asylum-seeking migrants pose no threat or danger to the United States. We know from past history that when we connect them with case managers in a community they have a 99% chance of meeting their court dates and their appointments with ICE, and it costs us one-tenth of what we pay to keep them in detention and in custody," O'Rourke said.
"So in other words ‘catch-and-release' is something you support?" Brennan asked.
"I wouldn't call it ‘catch-and-release.' I would call it helping those who are seeking asylum in this country to follow our laws," O'Rourke responded. "If at the end of that process they must return to their country of origin, I want to make sure they go back to the country from which they left in the first place."
Brennan asked for O'Rourke to clarify whether would seek to detain those who enter the United States illegally.
"Not necessarily in every case, but I think vast majority of families and children who are fleeing the deadliest countries on the face of the planet, who are seeking asylum in this country, they don't try the flee arrest, they don't try to evade detection, those families pose no threat or risk to this country."
He added that those families, assuming they pose no apparent threat, should be released with a case manager.
Last month, a panel of experts organized by the Department of Homeland Security said the border is in a crisis that demands congressional action.
The border has witnessed an increase in families and unaccompanied children trying to cross the border. Drug seizures at the border have also increased over the past decade.