In south Texas, with the U.S.-Mexico border skyline in the background, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes asked former representative Beto O’Rourke, “If you could, would you take the wall down now? Here? Knock it down?”
“Yes. Absolutely,” O’Rourke said. “I would take the wall down.”
The initial question posed to O’Rourke by Rep. Dan Crenshaw on Twitter was, “If you could snap your fingers and make El Paso’s border wall disappear, would you?”
O’Rourke argued that the wall, “has not made us in any demonstrable way safer.”
“[The border wall] has cost us tens of billions of dollars to build and 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,” O’Rourke continued. “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.”
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) February 15, 2019
Crenshaw’s point was that in O’Rourke’s hometown of El Paso, the largest U.S. city on the border, Department of Homeland Security-reported illegal crossings have dropped significantly since vehicle barrier and primary wall was added.
“Should also note: El Paso mayor stated ‘The fence has worked.’ Residents have ‘stated that they felt more secure with the fence.’” Crenshaw added on Twitter.
For all the critics trying to find ANY other explanation for why El Paso’s illegal crossings dropped after building a fence, how do you explain these graphs? How do you explain what we see in Brownsville, where fencing dramatically reduces crossings? pic.twitter.com/I3QQ7aEHDD
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) February 12, 2019
El Paso Mayor Dee Margo told Fox News in December that they need the rule of law, negotiations with Mexico, and a solution to problems in Central America. “We have a fence already in El Paso that was done during the Bush administration, I think back in 2008, and it has stopped criminal activity and it works.”
O’Rourke’s comments come just hours after Congress passed a spending bill partially funding the border wall, and President Trump acknowledged plans to declare a national emergency to fund the remainder of his border security plan.
On Monday night, Trump held a campaign-style rally in El Paso, while O’Rourke hosted an anti-border protest rally at the same time, less than a mile away.
“We stand for America and we stand against walls,” O’Rourke said on Monday. “We know there is no bargain in which we can sacrifice some of our humanity to gain a little more security.”