‘A quarter of our neighbors were born in another country…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Presidential hopeful Robert Francis O’Rourke (“Beto”) described El Paso, Texas as the “Ellis Island of today” in a new op-ed, arguing the influx of immigrants to his hometown has made it “stronger” and “safer.”
“We are the largest binational community in the Western Hemisphere, the place where millions of people who become Americans first set foot in our country,” O’Rourke wrote. “A quarter of our neighbors were born in another country.”
But the former congressman and failed senate candidate said, contrary to countless reports of gang violence, human trafficking and drug epidemics that illegal immigration had improved the lives of those in the community.
“Every day, we are made stronger—and yes, safer—by the immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers who make us so proud to call El Paso our home.”
FBI data, however, revealed that violent crime in Texas was back on the rise, reaching a level last seen in 2010 after a record low in 2014.
O’Rourke went on to slam President Donald Trump for promoting policies that are “making us a nation defined by cruelty,” citing unsanitary conditions at detention centers and the controversial family separation policy.
“No human being, let alone a child, should be subject to these conditions—especially in one of the wealthiest, most powerful countries on the face of the planet,” O’Rourke wrote.
If elected, O’Rourke said he would write an executive order on his first day in the Oval Office to release “those who pose no threat to our communities” from detention centers, and to undo the travel and asylum restrictions passed by the Trump administrations.
“We will do all of that while still respecting the fact that we are a country with borders,” O’Rourke wrote. “That means preserving tools that allow us to go after smugglers and traffickers—because that will make everyone who lives in America safer, including immigrants.”
Calling Trump “the most divisive and dangerous President” in the nation’s history, he invoked the previous immigration waves during which about 12 million aliens arriving from Europe by ship were processed at the landmark Hudson Bay center on Ellis Island prior to being allowed entry into New York.
“We must choose to be our better selves and remember that, for 243 years strong, asylum seekers, immigrants, and refugees—arriving on the shores of Ellis Island and in the desert of El Paso—have helped make the United States of America the greatest country the world has ever known,” O’Rourke said.