To a few 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, the immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border is apparently not an issue, as they’re downplaying it.
While some Democrats are seemingly downplaying the border situation, many border officials have made it clear that there is a problem and that it needs to be addressed properly.
As IJR Red has detailed, the U.S. immigration system is “bursting at the seams,” with 144,278 total migrants apprehended at the border in the month of May alone, 90 percent of asylum-seekers not showing for their court hearings, and human traffickers raking in billions of dollars for bringing Central American migrants to the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Every day that it continues, every day our border security threats increase,” the chief Border Patrol agent of the El Paso sector, Aaron Hull, recently warned about the growing migration situation.
Castro thinks the border is “as secure as it ever has been”
Castro recently cast blame on President Donald Trump for the massive influx of migrants flowing to the southern border instead of calling the border situation a “crisis.” Additionally, he labeled it “BS.”
Castro’s “People First” immigration plan includes offering millions of undocumented immigrants citizenship and decriminalizes illegal immigration, instead viewing it as a civil issue.
In his latest comments, Castro claimed that the southern border is “as secure as it ever has been.”
While appearing on MSNBC’s “Live with Velshi and Ruhle” on Tuesday, Castro was asked how he’d handle the mass number of undocumented immigrants already in the country and those still trying to cross over if Immigration and Customs Enforcement were “broken up.”
After first responding that “this president has failed” on the “quote-unquote ‘immigration problem,'” Castro was pushed again on what he’d do about it.
“I would make sure that we maintain border security, and I believe that our border is as secure as it ever has been. I would ensure that we maintain it,” he responded. “But secondly, I would treat people with compassion and common sense, and not with cruelty.”
Watch his recent comments below:
As for a recent controversial remark by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on undocumented migrants, in which she compared border detention facilities to concentration camps, Castro told CNN on Wednesday that he “agree[s] with the sentiment behind what she said, which is that we can’t take this as normal.”
Watch the video below:
2020 candidate @JulianCastro says he agrees "with the sentiment behind" AOC's "concentration camps" comments.
— New Day (@NewDay) June 19, 2019
O’Rourke dodges if illegal migration is a problem in the U.S.
During an interview with The New York Times released on Wednesday, O’Rourke and other candidates were asked 18 questions — including one in which he was asked directly if “illegal immigration is a major problem in the United States.”
Despite the current border situation, O’Rourke doubled down on his immigration plan to create a pathway for citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. He was then pressed again to clarify if he thinks illegal immigration is a major problem.
“Undocumented immigration is an opportunity,” O’Rourke said. “It’s an opportunity for us to rewrite our laws that are in accord with our values.”
O’Rourke has previously knocked the idea of constructing a border wall, going as far as saying at one point that it would “end lives.” He also noted on his campaign website that he would provide $0 for border wall funding if elected — a stark contrast to Trump’s long-promised wall construction.
Additionally, when asked recently about his thoughts on Castro’s plan to repeal the law that makes it a crime to enter the U.S. illegally, O’Rourke tried dodging the question during Sunday’s CNN interview. He answered by saying he believes “the vast majority of cases” shouldn’t be a crime but then clarified that he disagrees with Castro in that the law shouldn’t be repealed, as IJR Red previously reported.
As for where the two Democrats sit ahead of the upcoming first 2020 Democratic debate, O’Rourke is in sixth place in the Real Clear Politics average at 3.7 percent, and Castro is in eighth at 1.0 percent.