HOUSTON, Texas — Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke appears to support abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. Democrat O’Rourke is running for U.S. Senate against Sen. Ted Cruz to represent the border state Texas.
According to Texas Tribune reporter Patrick Svitek, O’Rourke was asked about abolishing ICE at a town hall in San Antonio on Friday. While the livestream of the town hall cut out before O’Rourke answered, Svitek tweeted the complete response.
O’Rourke, in referring to other ways of enforcing existing laws without using ICE, said that, “If that involves doing away with this agency [ICE], giving that responsibility to someone else, changing how this agency performs, I’m open to doing that.”
When asked directly, “So would you abolish ICE?”, O’Rourke, whose district includes the border city of El Paso, said that the alternative would have to be determined before shutting down the agency.
“I don’t know enough about how we would perform those same enforcement functions – if through another part of the Department of Homeland Security,” said O’Rourke. He added that, “I just want to make sure that we’re constructive in how we talk about meeting this challenge, and that I understand what abolishing ICE would mean in terms of enforcing our laws going forward.”
Also, the Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate from Texas, criticized ICE and its work in deporting aliens who have illegally entered the United States.
As O’Rouke put it:
When we see the fear that has been injected into our communities, that’s not good for any of us. It’s certainly not good for those who live directly under that fear. It’s not good for the rest of us, who benefit from the contributions that those fellow members of our community can make.
Sen. Cruz responded, “This is a radical view. Congressman O’Rourke seems to believe that illegal aliens — whom he calls ‘members of our community’ — have a right to ignore our law, and because they don’t want immigration laws enforced, we should therefore abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The overwhelming majority of Texans disagree. We want the border secure, our laws enforced, and Americans kept safe, and we don’t want to abolish the law enforcement agencies charged with protecting us.”
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz fully understands the border security issues and has proven record leading the efforts to secure our border. That’s why he’s been endorsed by the National Border Patrol Council, the union of border patrol agents nationwide.
“Sen. Cruz believes that ICE agents work hard to secure our borders and keep Americans safe,” said Cruz spokesman Emily Miller. “He fully supports keeping the agency in charge of removing illegal immigrants from the United States.”