(The Hill) — Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic nominee for governor of Texas, slammed the busing of migrants to northern cities by incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott (R) as “cruel and unkind.”
O’Rourke said during an interview on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” on Wednesday that Abbott’s moves to send migrants out of Texas to Democratic-run cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C., harm not just the migrants but also the residents of Texas, as well as U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
“What I propose, though, is instead of these stunts, which are so cruel and unkind not just to those migrants but those of us who live in Texas, Border Patrol agents who we put on their backs this entire immigration system that is so badly broken, what if instead we had a Texas-based guest worker program?” he said.
O’Rourke said he supports reducing the wait for people from outside the United States to join family in the country so they do not have to wait “20 years in line” and reducing the sometimes years-long wait time for asylum-seekers. He said immigration laws should be rewritten to follow the country’s values.
“We say, ‘You want to come to this country, you must follow our laws, but our laws will follow our values.’ I want Texas to lead on that,” O’Rourke said.
Abbott and fellow GOP Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Doug Ducey of Arizona have sent thousands of migrants to several northern cities in the past few months to call attention to what they view as failed federal immigration policies.
Migrants are loaded onto a van as they are processed by the Border Patrol after illegally crossing the Rio Grande river from Mexico into the U.S. at Eagle Pass, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
DeSantis has faced intense scrutiny for sending migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., last week, and the migrants flown there have initiated a class-action lawsuit against him. A sheriff for the Texas county where the migrants were taken has announced he is launching an investigation into the incident.
Polls have consistently showed Abbott with a lead over O’Rourke, with a recent survey showing the gap widening. A Dallas Morning News-University of Texas at Tyler poll released on Monday showed Abbott with a 9-point lead over his Democratic challenger.