Former Democratic Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke criticized President Biden for his administration’s immigration coverage, significantly relating to the asylum course of that the previous lawmaker says fails to ship on Biden’s 2020 marketing campaign guarantees.

Talking on the Harvard Kennedy Faculty’s Institute of Politics on Thursday, O’Rourke mentioned he was optimistic throughout Biden’s marketing campaign that his border coverage could be a drastic enchancment over former President Trump’s technique.

“When Joe Biden was working in 2020, he ran with such unimaginable ethical readability on this challenge: ‘We are going to not put children in cages as a result of they’re not animals, we are going to not tear infants from the breasts of their moms,’ actually what Trump was doing in his household separation coverage,” O’Rourke mentioned. “‘We will restore the soul of America, and we will dwell as much as our promise.’ Man, that was inspiring to me. I wanted to listen to that, residing on the border and as somebody who actually cares about that.”

O’Rourke admitted that he believes Biden has been profitable in addressing immigration “on some counts” and that his administration’s rhetoric is a “night-and-day” distinction when in comparison with the Trump years.


Beto O'Rourke talking

Former Democratic Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke criticized President Biden for his administration’s immigration coverage, significantly the asylum course of. (AP Photograph/Tony Gutierrez, File)

“Biden just isn’t inspiring, I do not suppose, any acts of political terror or the type of slaughter that we noticed in El Paso, and but, on different counts, he is actually failing us,” he mentioned.

“The asylum ban that we see that makes it so arduous for individuals to lawfully, safely, and in an orderly trend come to this nation once they can not keep in their very own,” the ex-congressman continued. “As a result of why the hell else would you journey 2,000 miles – the size of this continent – a lot of it on foot, a few of it on prime, not inside, of a prepare, referred to as the beast, La Bestia, going through rape, torture, you already know, kidnapping by these transnational felony organizations, solely to return to probably the most closely militarized border most likely anyplace on this hemisphere, if not this planet, the place you danger your life. And extra migrants have died this yr than any yr on document.”


O’Rourke, a three-term congressman who misplaced the 2018 Texas Senate election to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, the 2020 presidential election that finally went to Biden and the 2022 Texas gubernatorial election to incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott, additionally warned that Biden’s immigration coverage may harm his assist amongst youthful voters in subsequent yr’s presidential election.

A New York Instances-Siena School ballot launched final weekend exhibits Trump, the GOP frontrunner, main Biden in 5 of six swing states with a yr till the 2024 presidential election.

“That is crucial if you wish to win in 2024. It’s no secret that Democratic voters are unexcited about Biden — that is placing it politely. It’s no secret, due to the ballot that we simply learn,” O’Rourke mentioned. “The younger voters particularly are leaving his banner in droves. Now will they vote for Donald Trump? Will they vote for [Robert F. Kennedy Jr.]? Will they not vote in any respect? I do not know. However let’s give them a purpose to vote for the president. One thing daring, one thing massive, one thing that matches the rhetoric that he utilized in 2020 and conjures up voters in 2024 is what’s wanted proper now.”

Beto O'Rourke raises fist

Beto O’Rourke warned that Biden’s immigration coverage may harm his assist amongst youthful voters in subsequent yr’s presidential election. (Brandon Bell/Getty Photos)

The Biden administration has reversed a number of of the Trump administration’s border insurance policies since 2021. It has additionally tried to open new pathways for authorized entry into the U.S. whereas making it harder to assert asylum with out earlier authorization, a coverage O’Rourke described as an “asylum ban.”

“Extra migrants have died this yr than any yr on document. And final yr extra migrants had died than any yr on document,” O’Rourke mentioned. “They’re drowning, they’re dying of dehydration and publicity within the desert, and these are little infants and moms and f***ing human beings who do not should be handled that method.”

He added: “And if you ban them from coming to this nation lawfully and once they know to remain in Honduras, or El Salvador or Haiti is to die in Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti, and so they don’t have any different alternative however to attempt to come into this nation between ports of entry, risking drowning and demise and imprisonment, and sure, some stage of separation that’s nonetheless going down on this nation.”


Beto O'Rourke in red hat speaking

Beto O’Rourke mentioned President Biden’s rhetoric on immigration is a “night-and-day” distinction in comparison with former President Trump. (Brandon Bell/Getty Photos)

The White Home introduced final month that it will use government authority to sidestep environmental and historic safety laws to construct segments of border wall in Texas. Biden had mentioned throughout his 2020 marketing campaign that he wouldn’t construct “one other foot” of Trump’s wall.

The Biden administration has additionally expanded some types of reduction for migrants, together with increasing the Short-term Protected Standing program and using immigration parole for sure new arrivals.


“And look, I perceive he has an argument to make when he says, ‘Look, this Congress won’t work with me and you already know, the bulk within the Home of Representatives aren’t going to do something to enhance the state of affairs at our border to deal with individuals with the humanity that they deserve,'” O’Rourke mentioned.

O’Rourke additionally highlighted that Democrats held majorities within the Home and Senate through the first two years of Biden’s presidency and claimed immigration reform was not prioritized throughout that point. He additionally mentioned Biden may transfer quicker on granting parole and work authorization to new migrant arrivals.

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