Democratic 2020 presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke has a dangerously delusional view of illegal immigration. During his kickoff rally in El Paso, Texas, the former congressman pushed back against genuine concerns about the crisis at the border, arguing that “immigrants and asylum seekers” make his hometown safer. “For 20 years running, we have been one of the safest cities in the United States,” he said. “We are safe 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.”
Did you hear that? Stop worrying about gangs, crime, and the statistics about drug trafficking that are the byproducts of illegal immigration. His remarks are either a manifestation of a common delusion or a deliberate deception by Democrats that ignores the facts about illegal immigrant crime and the ongoing border security crisis. In Texas alone, almost 194,000 criminal aliens have been arrested since 2011, charged with 299,000 crimes including murder, assault, and rape. Telling the American people that illegal immigrants contribute to public safety is absurd. His claim is even more fanciful given that El Paso is being overrun by illegal immigrants, with 12,000 of them apprehended in just two days recently.
Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan noted that taking 4,000 people into custody over that time span is an extremely high number, 6,000 is a crisis, and 12,000 is unprecedented. McAleenan warned that the border situation is at a breaking point, asserting that the “surge numbers are just overwhelming the entire system.” The number of illegal immigrants being processed has outstripped the ability of law enforcement to detain them. In the Rio Grande Valley, officials have been forced to release undocumented migrants because of the massive influx. Almost 100,000 people crossed the border illegally in March, and the Department of Homeland Security projects that more than one million people will cross illegally this year.
According to the New York Times, “Migrant women and girls are the victims of sexual assaults that most often go unreported, uninvestigated, and unprosecuted” along the southern border. In one dire instance, the newspaper described a woman who was held captive in a Texas house and raped by men who helped her get into America. “For weeks in that locked room, the men she had paid to get her safely to the United States drugged her with pills and cocaine, refusing to let her out even to bathe.”
O’Rourke seems to think we should not be concerned about this woman or the countless others just like her with his comments on the campaign. He does not want us to think about all of the drugs that are smuggled into our country illegally or believe the reports about MS-13 gang violence in our cities. Texans live in a state with over 1,200 miles of border, and we know just how severe the illegal immigration crisis has become.
That is why the Texas State Senate just passed a resolution calling on Congress to provide the full funding necessary to secure the border. Texans have already allocated $1.6 billion of our own money for additional border enforcement, and we have put another $800 million in the new budget. But securing the border is the responsibility of Congress, and Texans are calling on lawmakers in Washington to do their job and provide the full funding necessary to secure the border with additional personnel, surveillance equipment, and barriers where they are necessary.
O’Rourke is in denial of the reality that crime is a byproduct of illegal immigration to our country. This is an insult not only to the American citizens whose communities are under threat every day during this crisis, but also to the immigrants who are victimized by that crime because of the failure of our federal government to secure the border.
Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) serves as the lieutenant governor of Texas.