Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said the United States “can’t have open borders” as she continues to distance herself from her party’s increasing far-left rhetoric regarding border security, Fox News reports.
During a Wednesday appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” Harris took aim at comments made by former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) in an MSNBC interview last week where he said he would “absolutely” tear down the existing border fencing between El Paso, Texas, and Mexico.
Harris differentiated herself from the former congressman and other “open borders” Democrats, saying that “we can’t have open borders” and that she believes “that we need border security” before continuing on:
“But we need smart border security. We can’t have open borders, we need to have border security, all nations do. All nations define their borders, but we should not have a policy and perspective that is grounded in keeping people out for the sake of this nationalistic kind of thing this president is trying to push.”
O’Rourke’s comment comes as a response to Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), who asked on Twitter whether or not O’Rourke would tear down the existing border structures while citing statistics showing the sharp decline of illegal border crossings after the security measures had been built.
Beto O'Rourke when asked, since Rep. @DanCrenshawTX asked on Twitter, if he would tear down the walls that are already in place: Yes and I think a referendum to do so would pass. pic.twitter.com/ENZuYvdqEa
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) February 15, 2019
.@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
Harris has been moving further away from the more extreme members of her party in recent days, reiterating that she is a capitalist and “not a democratic socialist.”
She went on to say:
“I believe that capitalism has great strengths when it works for all people equally well. I do believe that we do need to recognize that over the last many decades, the rules have been written in a way that has excluded working families and middle-class families, and we have to correct course.”
Harris’ comments seem to aim to separate her from her farther-left Democratic primary opponents and potential opponents, such as O’Rourke and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who supports abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and said that she “could support” O’Rourke’s call to tear down border fencing “if it made sense.”
A recent campaign event for Gillibrand in Iowa City was interrupted by a woman who was “just trying to get some ranch” in a video that went viral online.
Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on removing existing border barriers: “I could support it” pic.twitter.com/t0mm6reOfm
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) February 15, 2019
And here's video of the woman "just trying to get some ranch," while Senator Kirsten Gillibrand speaks to supporters in Iowa City. pic.twitter.com/6PRCVbbIQW
— DJ Judd (@DJJudd) February 19, 2019
Harris has additionally drawn the ire of her father, who lambasted Harris for using her Jamaican heritage as an “identity politics” tool, saying that his parents “must be turning in their grave right now.”
“Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty,” he added.
Harris, who has set her sights on the 2020 White House, is one of the front-runners in the saturated Democratic primary and will be facing off against other powerhouse candidates such as Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who announced his candidacy on Tuesday.
O’Rourke has not yet announced whether or not he is running for president, but he is planning to decide “before the end of this month.”