O'Rourke Likens U.S. Immigration Laws to Slavery

April 28, 2019

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D.) on Saturday likened immigration laws in the United States to slavery.

O'Rourke participated in a forum on "wages and working people," which was hosted by SEIU and the Center for American Progress Action Fund in Las Vegas, Nev. During his remarks, he said illegal immigrants live in "modern day bondage."

"[With immigration, there are] millions living in the shadows, working some of the toughest jobs, lucky to make a minimum wage, still not even making that," O'Rourke said. "[Immigrants are] kept in modern day bondage, their immigration status used as leverage to keep them down from fully participating in this country's success and in our economy, an economy that works too well for too few and not well enough for most Americans."

When it comes to illegal immigration, O'Rourke has not provided many specifics on how he would tackle the issue. Back in January, he told the Washington Post he didn't know what to do in terms of visa overstays and that he would be listening to the people, saying, "I trust the wisdom of people." In terms of the border wall in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, he told MSNBC's Chris Hayes back in February he would "absolutely" take the border wall down.

While his position is clear on the border wall, he has not gone as far as 2020 Democratic candidates on the issue of whether to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. Earlier this week he was asked whether ICE would still exist if he was elected president.

"Yes," he replied. "But it will not employ those practices we’ve seen not just under this administration but under the previous administration."