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Beto Advocates Tearing Down Existing Wall on Texas Border

Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic former Texas congressman, addresses supporters before an anti-Trump march in El Paso, Texas, U.S., February 11, 2019. (REUTERS/Loren Elliott )

Former congressman Beto O’Rourke said Thursday evening that he would “absolutely” tear down the existing fencing separating his hometown of El Paso, Texas from Mexico.

“Yes, absolutely. I’d take the wall down,” O’Rourke told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes when the host referenced a question posed by Representative Dan Crenshaw (R., Texas) on Twitter ahead of the interview.

O’Rourke, who was elevated to the national spotlight during his recent failed Senate bid, argued that the fencing has not made the residents of El Paso safer and has directly contributed to the death of migrants.

“[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 said. “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.”

Department of Homeland Security data included in Crenshaw’s tweet indicates illegal border crossings in El Paso and other border towns have decreased significantly since fencing was erected.

Following the interview, Crenshaw immediately praised O’Rourke for being honest about his intentions.

O’Rourke has denied that he is an advocate for open borders in the past but has repeatedly argued that physical barriers of any kind cause migrant death.

“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 Chihuahua Desert.”

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