Former Democratic congressman Beto O’Rourke of Texas took it straight to Donald Trump on Thursday night, saying that walls make the country less safe and he would support tearing down the fence that was built in El Paso in 2008.
When MSNBC‘s Chris Hayes asked O’Rourke whether he would support taking down the existing wall in the border city, the former congressman said, “Yes, absolutely, I’d take the wall down.”
The rising Democratic star said that the wall is a monumental waste of money and it has led to the death of migrants legally seeking asylum in the U.S.
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) February 15, 2019
O’Rourke busts the myth that walls translate to safety:
Here’s what we know. After the Secure Fence Act we have built 600 miles of wall and fencing on a 2,000-mile border. What that has done is not in any demonstrable way made us safer. It’s cost us 10s of billions of dollars to build and to maintain and it has pushed migrants and asylum seekers and refugees to the most inhospitable, the most hostile stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border, ensuring their suffering and death. More than 4,000 human beings, little kids, women and children, have died. They’re not in cages, they’re not locked up, they’re not separated. They’re dead over the last 10 years as we have walled off their opportunity to legally petition for asylum, to cross in urban centers like El Paso, to be with family, to work jobs, to do what any human being should have a right to be able to do, what we would if faced with the same circumstances they were.
Walls don’t make America safer
Beto O’Rourke is going straight after Donald Trump‘s message that a wall is necessary to keep the country safe. El Paso is a leaving and breathing example of that.
While the border city has had a fence since 2008, it’s been one of the safest major cities in the country for more than a decade. Even the Republican mayor of El Paso admits that the wall has had little to no impact on crime in the city, which has been falling since the 1990s.
What the wall has done is make it more difficult for migrants, particularly women and children, to legally seek asylum. It has created an environment in which these legal asylum seekers are forced to take more dangerous – and often fatal – paths to the U.S.-Mexico border.
As Beto O’Rourke said on Thursday, walls aren’t just ineffective and wasteful, but they have created a deadly environment for those legally seeking a better life in the United States.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.