2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke once floated El Paso, Texas’s lax law enforcement as key to the city’s safety.
The Texas Democrat said in 2012 El Paso was the safest city in the country with a population over 500,000.
“It may be because you have very progressive law enforcement officials here who refuse to enforce federal immigration laws,” O’Rourke said in a 2012 interview with In These Times after he won the Democratic primary for a congressional seat he later went on to win.
“Regardless of status” El Paso’s key is to make sure everyone feels welcome, O’Rourke told the magazine and touted “the really strong, family-centric values that you have in immigrant communities.” O’Rourke also said the southern border is the “safest part” of Texas, but barriers or walls are not the reason for low crime.
“The border is the safest part of the state. But for so many, the border has become this convenient foil to look tough on crime, tough on immigration, tough on these Mexicans who want to come and take our jobs and our benefits, and give our kids drugs,” O’Rourke continued.
O’Rourke has since claimed the U.S.-Mexico border wall is the reason why there has been an increase in the number of migrants who have died while attempting to enter the country.
“The number of people dying at the U.S.-Mexico border in some years has grown,” O’Rourke said during a town hall in El Paso in December. “In some years has grown because it’s connected to that wall that we have already built that pushes people who are at their most desperate and vulnerable to ever-more inhospitable stretches of the Chihuahuan Desert.”
O’Rourke will have to defeat a long list of Democratic candidates to take on President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election.
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