Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke (D) confirmed in an interview with Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa Friday that he is in favor of physically tearing down existing sections of the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
“So Beto I just want to be clear. Have you said you want to tear down the wall?” Hinojosa asked. “If I’m elected, I will tear down that wall. Then suddenly the Democrat is quoting the Republican Ronald Reagan– tear down that wall.”
“Right. So the short answer is yes,” O’Rourke said. “I would include all local stakeholders.”
“There are more than 600 miles of wall and physical barriers now along that 2,000-mile border,” he continued, arguing that they are “not working.”
“In El Paso, we saw crime actually go up after the wall was constructed instead of coming down. It made us less – not more – safe. As an El Pasoan, I, for one, would want to take much of that wall down,” O’Rourke said.
However, the former Texas lawmaker said he would defer to other communities on whether or not they wanted to keep the physical barriers in their cities.
“If there are other places where a physical barrier – from the community’s perspective – is necessary or helpful and it already exists, I would to defer to them,” he said, decrying Democrats for advocating for the construction of physical barriers on the southern border.
“Unfortunately it’s not just Republicans who advocated in voting for building walls here. Democrats voted for the Secure Fence Act that provided the authorization and ultimately the funding to build the walls that we have,” he continued.
During the third Democrat debate in Houston, Texas, Thursday evening, O’Rourke falsely claimed that the U.S. border wall kills “thousands” of illegal aliens.
“Democrats and Republicans, alike, voted to build a wall that has produced thousands of deaths of people trying to cross to join family or to work a job,” O’Rourke claimed.
As Breitbart News reported, O’Rourke’s claim is patently false:
As Breitbart News has reported, hundreds of border crossers and illegal aliens die every year while attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. President Trump has actually cut the rate at which illegal aliens are dying at the border with a number of new immigration controls to keep foreign nationals from attempting to cross in the first place.
While nearly 3,000 border crossers and illegal aliens died after crossing the southern border under the Obama administration’s eight years, existing physical barriers did not “produce” those deaths as suggested by O’Rourke.
This is not the first time O’Rourke has advocated for tearing down existing segments of the wall. He told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes in February that he would “absolutely” take the wall down:
.@BetoORourke should answer a simple question tonight with respect to the border debate:
If you could snap your fingers and make El Paso’s border wall disappear, would you?
Because this DHS graph shows that when the wall was built, illegal crossings dropped significantly. pic.twitter.com/JgquXfw2Ee
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) February 11, 2019
President Trump challenged O’Rourke in March.
“I see a new candidate in the mix, he wants to take down the walls. Try that sometime, you’ll see what will happen,” Trump said. “You’d have tens of millions of people coming in.”
“You want to see a mess? Take down that wall, you’ll see what will happen,” he added, referring to the wall in Tijuana.
The president reiterated the importance of finishing the wall during last week’s rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, adding that “every inch of wall” is “vital.”
“And when you look at what’s happening with human trafficking — and it’s mostly women — they traffic in women, and they pour through our borders,” Trump said.
“Well, every inch of wall that we put up is vital, and we’re putting up miles and miles. And we intend by next year, at the end of the year, to have anywhere between four hundred and five hundred miles of wall built,” he continued.