Democratic candidate for President; Texas Senator nominee
Why do we check for HIV at the border and no other diseases?
Q: Will you support legislation calling for the review of all HIV criminal laws and take action to end the criminalization of Americans based on HIV status, especially Latino HIV+ people like me?
O'ROURKE: You're right that there is discrimination against our fellow Americans, as well as discrimination against those who are coming to this country.
I think about asylum seekers, families who are separated based on the HIV status of a single family member. We don't do that for families who come here with the flu or other health care challenges right now in this country.
We've singled out a population in America. And end the discrimination against those who have HIV in America today.
Don't turn away asylum seekers who return home to face death
Q: I came to this country seeking asylum 20 years ago. Leaving my country was my only option to survive. [Under Trump], other asylum seekers may get sent back; your plan?
O'ROURKE: We no longer recognize this as a valid claim for asylum, though we
know that when we turn people back to their country of origin, where they face persecution, they often face certain death. We've got to make sure that we welcome all those who have literally no other place to go to and retake our place as the
indispensable country in the world again, setting the moral example so we can exert the moral leadership across the world and make this a cornerstone of our foreign policy. In fact, I'm going to have a full-time person in the State Department who works
with other countries to advocate for the full human rights of their citizens, as well. But we won't wait on those countries to change. If someone needs to come here to seek shelter or asylum or refuge, we are going to welcome them now.
I will lead an effort to rewrite our immigration laws in that way. Begin with DREAMers, make them U.S. citizens right now in this, their true home country and extend that to their parents,
their sisters and their brothers, and ensure that we have a legal, safe, orderly system to come to this country and add to our greatness here.
Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston
, Sep 12, 2019
Grant refuge to those severely impacted by climate change
What if we started there given the fact that they just got pounded by the largest storm they have ever seen? What if we offered temporary protective status to anyone in the Bahamas who wants to seek shelter and refuge here in the United States?
Honor our own asylum laws in the best traditions of this country of immigrants and asylum seekers and refugees and allow them to apply for asylum and included as a permissible part of the application, those who have been impacted by climat
Source: Climate Crisis Town Hall (CNN 2019 Democratic primary)
, Sep 4, 2019
People who come here must follow our laws
In my administration, after we have waived citizenship fees for green card holders; freed DREAMers from any fear of deportation; and stopped criminally prosecuting families and children for seeking asylum and refuge; end for-profit detention in this
country; and then assist those countries in Central America so that no family ever has to make that 2,000-mile journey, than I expect that people who come here follow our laws, and we reserve the right to criminally prosecute them if they do not.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit)
, Jul 30, 2019
Keep asylum laws; let refugees apply from home countries
We should follow our asylum laws that are on the books. I think that asylum seekers should be able to apply from their home countries, without having to make that journey by
foot in the first place, it will ensure that they are following our laws and it will guarantee greater safety and reduce suffering for them.
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interview
, Jun 30, 2019
End family separation; rewrite law from ground up
Day one we are going to stop family separation. We're going to reunite those families who have been separated. We're going to make sure that no one who is fleeing persecution or violence is criminally prosecuted. Then we're going to rewrite our
immigration laws from the ground up, that the nine million green card holders in this country, we're going to waive their citizenship fees so they can contribute even more to our success and our greatness.
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interview
, Jun 30, 2019
Asylum seekers should be able to apply from home countries
I think that asylum seekers should be able to apply from their home countries. So from Honduras or Guatemala or El Salvador to the United States, without having to make that journey by foot in the first place,
it will ensure that they are following our laws and it will guarantee greater safety and reduce suffering for them.
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interview series
, Jun 30, 2019
Asylum-seekers are fleeing deadliest countries in the world
Q: What would you do, day one at the White House?
O'ROURKE: We would not build walls. We would not put kids in cages. In fact, we would spare no expense to reunite the families that have been separated already. And we would not criminally prosecute
any family who is fleeing violence and persecution. We would not detain any family fleeing violence, in fact, fleeing the deadliest countries on the face of the planet today. We would implement a family case management program so they could be cared
for in the community at a fraction of the cost. And then we would rewrite our immigration laws in our own image, free Dreamers forever from any fear of deportation by making them U.S. citizens here in this country,
invest in solutions in Central America, work with regional stakeholders so there's no reason to make that 2,000 mile journey to this country.
Military service as pathway to citizenship for immigrants
He is proposing allowing
military service to be a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, according to the plan.
Source: CNN coverage of 2020 Democratic primary
, Jun 24, 2019
Most immigrants pose no danger, but keep illegal entry law
Q: Julian Castro's immigration plan calls for the repeal of a law that makes it a crime to enter the United States illegally. Do you agree?
O'Rourke: I don't know if it should be repealed, but I think that we should acknowledge that most of
those who are arriving at our border are at their most desperate and vulnerable moment. They pose no threat or harm to this country.
In the vast majority of cases, there's no need to incarcerate migrant families, and especially children. But if somebody is attempting to smuggle human beings [or] illegal drugs into this country,
I want to make sure that we have the legal mechanism necessary to hold them accountable and to detain them.
Q: You don't think that it should be repealed?
O'Rourke: I do not think that it should be repealed.
Do not repeal law: keep illegal border crossings a crime
Q: Julian Castro's immigration plan calls for the repeal of a law that makes it a crime to enter the United States illegally. Do you agree with that?
O'ROURKE: I don't know if it should be repealed, but I think that we should acknowledge that most of
those who are arriving at our border right now pose no threat or harm to this country. In the vast majority of cases, there's no need to incarcerate or to detain migrant families, and especially children.
But if somebody is attempting to smuggle human beings [or] illegal drugs into this country, I want to make sure that we have the legal mechanism necessary to detain them.
Q: But you disagree with Julian Castro; you don't think that it should be repealed?
O'ROURKE: Yes, I have answered the question. I do not think that it should be repealed.
Treat asylum seekers with respect; repair home countries
I would treat every asylum-seeker with the dignity and respect they deserve as human beings. I would resource the Department of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, the Office of Refugee Resettlement commensurate with the need they face.
I would also go to the heart of the problem and ensure that we're working with partner nations in the Western Hemisphere to reduce violence at home and try to ensure that they don't have to make that 2,000-mile journey in the first place.
Immediately undo Trump actions; work with Congress
Muslim ban, when has a country ever banned all people of one religion, as though they're somehow defective or violent? Or putting kids in cages or deporting their moms or keeping them separated, those things, we must overturn on day one.
But we're going to have to work with Congress to rewrite this country's immigration laws. The 9 million legal, permanent residents: let's make sure that they become citizens as soon as possible, waive their fees, mail them already-filled-out application.
Eleven million undocumented, start with the more than 1 million Dreamers. Free them forever from any fear of deportation by making them citizens in this, their true home country. Follow our asylum laws.
And then invest in solutions in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador. Reduce violence there, so that no family has to make that 2,000-mile journey to our border.
Expedite citizenship process for legal residents & DREAMers
We're going to have to work with Congress to rewrite this country's immigration laws in our own image. The 9 million legal, permanent residents, let's make sure that they become U.S. citizens as soon as possible, waive their citizenship fees,
mail them already-filled-out citizenship application forms. 11 million undocumented, start with the more than 1 million Dreamers. Free them forever from any fear of deportation by also making them U.S. citizens in this, their true home country.
Source: Meet the Press 2019 interview series
, Jun 2, 2019
Those seeking asylum pose no threat
Most of those asylum-seeking migrants pose no threat or danger to the United States. We know from past history that when we connect them with case managers in a community, they have a 99% chance of meeting their court dates and their appointments with
ICE. It costs us a tenth of what we pay to keep them in detention and in custody. If at the end of that process they must return to their country of origin, I want to make sure that they follow our laws.
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interview of presidential hopefuls
, May 26, 2019
Against border wall; against criminalizing asylum seekers
O'Rourke has been a vocal critic of Trump's border wall with Mexico and said the U.S. should not criminalize who request asylum between ports of entry.
O'Rourke has not offered concrete policy solutions and said in an interview with the Washington Post that he didn't know what could be done about immigrants who overstay their visa.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020"
, Apr 29, 2019
Stop refugee issue by dealing with what's driving them here
In his formal announcement, the former Texas congressman offered one of the most important policy proposals of the nascent presidential campaign:
He argued that to solve America's problems at the border, America's leaders must "help people in Central America where they are." In so doing, he began laying a foundation to effectively rebut Donald Trump on his signature issue: immigration.
Source: The Atlantic, "Trump's Trap," on 2020 presidential hopefuls
, Apr 1, 2019
Condemns President Trump's wall; "Walls end lives"
O'Rourke condemned Mr. Trump's long-promised wall along the southwestern border. "We know that walls do not save lives. Walls end lives," he said in a border rally that competed with one of Mr. Trump's nearby rallies. "In the last 10 years, more than
4,000 children women and men have died trying to come to this country to work jobs that no one will take, to be with a family member, to flee horrific violence, brutality and death."
Source: CBS News, "Who is Beto," on 2020 Democratic primary
, Mar 21, 2019
Path to citizenship for all DREAMers
During his six years in Congress, O'Rourke represented a border area in Texas.
He believes the border is secure, and would give legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants in the country now.
He has said he would like so-called "Dreamers," who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, to get citizenship "today."
O'Rourke says he is "open" to the idea of abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, so long as there is a plan to transfer the agency's core responsibilities elsewhere.
Raise cap on work visas; find pathway to citizenship
O'Rourke wants to raise the cap on work visas, find a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and create a system with the Mexican government that would track who was in the country. "In my opinion, that includes citizenship for
DREAMers, a legal path to citizenship for their parents, and the ability to get right with the law, and work legally, and pay taxes, and pursue a path to citizenship for millions of others who've been working the toughest jobs here."
Source: Joe Hagan in Vanity Fair on 2020 Democratic primary
, Mar 13, 2019
End separating kids; make DREAMers citizens
There are hundreds of kids yet to be reunited with their parents. We can ensure that never again is another child taken from another parent coming here to seek asylum. We can insist that every one of those kids is reunited with their families.
Free Dreamers from any fear of deportation by making them U.S. citizens here. They're already as American as anyone else in any way that's meaningful. Let's make sure that they're also citizens so that they can contribute to their full potential.
Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls
, Oct 18, 2018
Opposes "open borders," but new wall unnecessary
I'm not in favor of open borders. We do not need walls, 2,000 miles long, 30 feet high at a cost of $30 billion, walls that would be built not on the international boundary, but miles into the interior, on someone's ranch or farm or home or property.
We'll have to use our power of eminent domain to take your property to build a wall that we don't need at a time of record security and safety on the border. The level of northbound apprehensions today is the lowest that it's been since 1971.
Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls
, Oct 18, 2018
DREAMers are as American as my kids
Q: Support path to citizenship for "DACA" recipients or "Dreamers," who grew up in US after coming as children?
Ted Cruz (R): No. End DACA. No path to citizenship to Dreamers or anyone else who violates immigration laws.
Beto O'Rourke (D): Protect Dreamers. "As American as my kids. & have done everything we've asked of them." Supports earned path to citizenship for millions here illegally.
Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Texas Senate race
, Oct 9, 2018
End the inhumane & un-American practice of family separation
Q: You're leading a march to Tornillo, where there's a new tent structure for 360 children. Have these kids all been separated from their parents?
O'ROURKE: It is a mix of kids who made that 2,000-mile journey on their own and kids who made that
journey with their parents. And, at the moment that they finally thought they had reached safety, and were going to petition for asylum, they were taken from their parents.
Q: What do you say to that argument, that this is all about deterrence?
O'ROURKE: Things have to be really bad for you to leave Honduras, travel 2,000 miles, and hope that once you get here to try to request asylum, only to find that your child will be taken from you. This is inhumane. I would like to say it is un-American,
but it's happening right now in America. And that is why we are marching to Tornillo today to bear witness, to make sure everyone in America knows that this is going on. I am working with my colleagues to end the practice of family separation.
Q: Would you accept some compromises here if you want to make changes, including, for instance, funding the president's border wall?
O'ROURKE: I think this one is going to be on the American people. And I think, when we make the choice clear that
we can do the right thing by this country and for those kids, and not do it at the price of a 2,000-mile, 30-foot-high, $30 billion wall, not doing it at the price of deporting people who are seeking asylum, deporting people in some cases back to
certain death, not doing it at the cost of ending family migration, which is the story of this country, certainly of the O'Rourkes, and millions of families who have fled terror or starvation in their countries to be here, I think the American people
are going to force us to do the right thing. That always happens in America. It is frustrating. It's slow. It doesn't happen right away. But, ultimately, we get it right. And I'm confident that the American people this time are going to get it right.
Support the DREAM Act: A humanitarian and economically sound bill to pass for our country as a whole, the DREAM Act provides a path to citizenship for a generation of young people who were brought here
as children and only know life in the U.S.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform: allowing a more flexible visa system that accurately adjusts to our economic and market conditions. Most importantly, I will work to ensure that the people of
El Paso, the ones actually living on the border and dealing with the implementations of immigration & border security policies passed in Washington, have a voice in this very important discussion.
Through immigration reform, we can empower immigrants
to come to the U.S. legally, discourage the abuse of the visa system, encourage employers to hire legally documented workers, enrich the American presence in the global economy and reduce the exploitation and discrimination of foreign workers.
O`Rourke opposes the PVS survey question on amnesty
Project Vote Smart infers candidate issue stances on key topics by summarizing public speeches and public statements. Congressional candidates are given the opportunity to respond in detail; about 11% did so in the 2012 races.
Project Vote Smart summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Immigration: Do you support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?'
Source: Project Vote Smart 12-PVS-q12 on Aug 30, 2012
Voted to legalize DREAMer immigrants via military service.
O`Rourke voted NAY Gosar Anti-DACA Amendment to H.R. 5293
Congressional Summary: The House voted on an amendment by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) to H.R. 5293, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2017. The amendment would prohibit funds from being used to extend the expiration of, or reissue a new expiration date to, the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program.
Recommendation by Heritage Foundation to vote YES:(6/16/2016): The MAVNI program is a pilot program authorizing "military services to recruit certain legal immigrants whose skills are considered to be vital to the national interest." However, a DoD memo has made it clear that DACA/DAPA recipients are eligible under this program, essentially opening up a pathway to amnesty for illegal aliens who enlist. By ensuring that this guidance ends, DOD will no longer be able to enlist illegal immigrants through MAVNI.
Recommendation by the ACLU to vote NO: (6/28/2011):
The DREAM Act promotes fundamental fairness for young people by allowing access to affordable post-secondary education and military service opportunities, regardless of immigration status, and would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, have lived here for at least five years and have graduated from high school. The DREAM Act could result in billions of dollars in additional tax revenue from tapping the potential of DREAM-eligible students and future service personnel. Since September 11, 2001, more than 69,000 immigrants have earned citizenship while serving, and more than 125 who entered military service after that date have made the ultimate sacrifice in war by giving their lives for this nation.
Legislative outcome: Failed House 210 to 211 (no Senate vote)
Source: Congressional vote 16-H5293 on Jun 16, 2016
O`Rourke opposes the CC survey question on border security
The Christian Coalition Voter Guide inferred whether candidates agree or disagree with the statement, 'Increase Border Security Including Additional Infrastructures '
Christian Coalition's self-description: "Christian Voter Guide is a clearing-house for traditional, pro-family voter guides. We do not create voter guides, nor do we interview or endorse candidates."
Source: Christian Coalition Surve 18CC-12 on Jul 1, 2018