Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) was confronted on Sunday for promoting immigration policies that would allow for illegal immigrants to bypass United States legal requirements to lawfully reside in the country.
“Robert, I noticed that you pander a lot to the illegal aliens and encouraging illegal immigration,” a woman told O’Rourke during a rally in Phoenix, Arizona. “We are a nation of laws and I just think it’s a slap in the face to every legal immigrant who has waited, and paid, and played by the rules to immigrate to this country legally and who have respected our country, our land, our citizens, our laws, and who have gone through the process to come here legally.”
“To just say everybody is welcome here, you all get free stuff, and just come on over the border is again, a slap in the face to every legal immigrant, like my mother, who has come here legally,” the woman continued amid a crowd of boos.
A woman told me undocumented immigrants are a "slap in the face" to "legal immigrants."
I told her it's a slap in the face to lock kids in cages.
Immigrants pose no threat to her. And we need to call people out for saying they do. pic.twitter.com/cpnE9PGBvF
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) October 6, 2019
While O’Rourke has claimed that he does not support an open-borders immigration system or decriminalizing illegal border crossings, he has also advocated for giving citizenship to nearly 20 million illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States. He further opposes incarcerating individuals who illegally cross over the border.
O’Rourke has long argued against a physical barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border and introduced a proposal in May that would immediately suspend border wall construction, as well as prevent any future budgets from funding construction or repairs.
During his failed bid to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), O’Rourke stated that the way to improve safety and security along the border is to “ensure that we are maximizing the potential from everyone” and “treating each other with respect and dignity.”
“On this much we can agree: that there should be a safe, legal, orderly, quick path to come here to join family, to work a job, to be able to go to school, to flee persecution, or in some countries like Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, certain death,” O’Rourke replied to the woman. “I want to work with you to make sure that our immigration laws and our asylum laws achieve that purpose.”
“But what is a slap in the face to my conscience and the best traditions of this country is taking kids from their parents and putting them in cages,” he continued. “We, in this country, have lost the lives of seven children in our custody and in our care.”
“If immigration is a problem, it is the best possible problem that this country could have. I want those asylum seekers here in this country. I want us to live according to our conscience, to our laws, to our commitments, and to the best, boldest, brightest future we could possibly have,” O’Rourke added. “Those immigrants pose no threat to you, nor to me; stop trafficking in these lies.”
The Arizona woman also confronted O’Rourke over his declaration that if he becomes president, the federal government will seize millions of firearms from law-abiding American citizens.
“Hands off our guns, Beto,” she told him. “You’re not getting our guns. The AR-15 is no more deadly than my Ruger .45.”
O’Rourke did not address her statement on firearms.