Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” 2020 presidential hopeful former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) said President Donald Trump’s immigration policy was causing “suffering and death.”
Partial transcript as follows:
MARGARET BRENNAN: I- We know from your team that you plan to go to Mexico today. What is the purpose of that visit?
O’ROURKE: Me going over to Ciudad Juarez today, our- our sister city across the border from El Paso, to meet with asylum seekers who have traveled hundreds, in some cases thousands, of miles fleeing the deadliest countries on the face of the planet coming to this country trying to follow our asylum laws and through a program that effectively shuts them out of this country and our laws are forced to stay in Ciudad Juarez, where they are prey to criminal organizations, where they are penniless and where they are suffering and where too many feel like they are forced to try to cross in between our ports of entry. As we saw earlier this week, a picture of Oscar and Valeria, who died trying to do that from what the Matamoros to Brownsville. This inhumane policy is causing suffering and death, and I want to call attention to what we are doing. So going to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and meeting with these asylum seekers is a great way for the American public to know what is being done in our name right now.
BRENNAN: So do you believe that asylum seekers should be able to apply for asylum from other countries or from Mexico?
O’ROURKE: Yes. I- I think we should follow our- our own asylum laws that are on the books, our obligations to those people to whom we are connected by land and language and culture and for whom we have some responsibility, given our involvement in the Western Hemisphere that has produced some of the challenges that they face that would cause a family to flee hundreds or thousands of miles to come here. So when we follow our own asylum laws, those people are safer. We live according to our traditions and in a program that we’ve proposed, a family case management program, no family is separated. They’re not detained in these border patrol stations–
BRENNAN: But that’s if they cross into the United States.
O’ROURKE: –they’re able to be released into the community and to follow our own laws.
BRENNAN: What- what you’re proposing is when they cross into the United States. I’m asking if they’re applying as, now, from Mexico or from a third country. That is one of the proposed changes, also, to immigration law now.
O’ROURKE: Yes, I- I think that asylum seekers should be able to apply from their home countries. So–
O’ROURKE: –from Honduras or Guatemala or El Salvador to the United States, without having to make that journey by foot in the first place, it’ll ensure that they are following our laws and it will guarantee greater safety and reduce suffering for them.
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