A Texas Democrat said he doesn’t think President Obama’s $3.7 billion emergency stopgap measure to address the border crisis addresses the roots of the problem, and said the commander in chief should have visited the border.
Other border colleagues of Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-Texas) have been critical of the administration on the crisis, including Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and Ron Barber (D-Ariz.).
“The right decision for the president when he was in Texas was to go to the border, preferably McAllen or Brownsville where so many of these refugees are coming from Central America, or El Paso, Texas, the district I represent, which has hosted more than 2,000 family members from Central America,” O’Rourke told Fox News.
“Visit the families themselves, talk to them, hear their story. Talk to the Border Patrol, to ICE, to Annunciation House and other Catholic charities and volunteers who are helping these families out.”
O’Rourke said “the important thing now is to get the response to this situation right.”
“So I’m interested in the president’s proposal. I’m grateful that he’s made one. I’m listening to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to see how we can get this right and do the best thing for all concerned,” he said.
However, the congressman added, “the core problem, at least as I’ve heard it from the president and others, has not been addressed.”
“It’s not sealing the border between the U.S. and Mexico. It’s not sealing the border between Mexico and Guatemala. It’s addressing the issues like the drug demand that we have in this country that’s driving drug trafficking through these other countries and destabilizing them,” he said.
“It’s talking about a history of intervention and then neglect from the United States that has caused severe problems in governance and civil society. Those are very difficult, systemic issues that are gonna take a while to fix, and we’re not going to be able to do it unilaterally. We need to work with our partners in the area who, by the way, have also seen asylum requests from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to the neighboring countries — Belize, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica — have gone up over 700 percent over the last five years. So this is truly a hemispheric, a regional problem.”