As Trump hyperventilates about the border, Beto O’Rourke celebrates immigrants in El Paso
Two weeks after announcing his candidacy for the presidency, Beto O’Rourke officially began his national campaign in his hometown of El Paso, the first of three rallies in Texas he is slated to hold on Saturday.
Delivering remarks not from a coffeeshop countertop, as he has been known to do, but from a stage where he was surrounded on all sides by supporters, O’Rourke addressed his city, “the largest binational community in this hemisphere.” In direct opposition to President Trump’s ongoing calls for a border wall (exact specs TBD!), O’Rourke maintained that El Paso has long been among America’s safest cities “not despite the fact that we are a city of immigrants and asylum seekers. We are safe because we are a city of immigrants and asylum seekers.”
“We have learned not to fear our differences, but to respect and embrace them,” he went on. “We see the languages spoken in this community, the traditions, the cultures, as a strength for El Paso. We understand, we understand that we are, in the words of Dr. King, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny.”
Later on, he spoke about immigration policy in greater detail, calling for an end to the deportation of Dreamers and the separation of families at the border.
Let’s bring millions more out of the shadows and on to a path to contribute to maximum potential to the success of this country. Let’s not only follow this country’s asylum laws, make sure we never take another child from their mother at a desperate and vulnerable moment.
Let us reunite every single one of those family that is are still separated today. Let’s remember, every single one of us, including those who are just three or four blocks from here, detained under the international bridge that connects us with Mexico, behind chain linked fence and barbed wire, they are fellow human beings and deserve to be treated like our fellow human beings.
Though not going as far as to call for, say, the abolition of I.C.E., and while saying he would “support officers and border patrol agents,” O’Rourke decried the “militarization” of America’s borders. He also called for a bipartisan effort to “work on comprehensive immigration reform, to rewrite this country’s immigration laws, in our own image, with our own values and in the best traditions of the United States of America.”
He also addressed the crowd in Spanish, prompting cheers of “si se puede,” according to BuzzFeed:
Beto begins speaking in Spanish, to big applause: talking about addressing climate change, counting every vote, and “listening to every voice.” The success of thus country, he says, depends on everyone.
The crowd begins to chant “si se puede”
— Molly Hensley-Clancy (@mollyhc) March 30, 2019
On Friday, President Trump threatened to close the border if Mexico did not do more to stem the flow of migrants into the United States. He has made this threat before, but this time he added a deadline, tweeting, “If Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States throug (sic) our Southern Border, I will be CLOSING the Border, or large sections of the Border, next week.”
O’Rourke, a former congressman, lost his Senate race against Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, but by a margin far smaller than many would have predicted. He speedily became a national figure, star of an HBO documentary about his Senate run and a Vanity Fair cover about his hopes for the presidency. During his Senate run, he proved himself to be an excellent fundraiser, hitting a total of $80 million. Within 24 hours of announcing his presidential run, O’Rourke reportedly raised $6.1 million online.