Beto O’Rourke labeled the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy “inhumane” and said it causes “suffering and death” during a Sunday appearance on CBS News’s Face the Nation.
The Remain in Mexico policy, otherwise known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, require that certain asylum-seekers remain in Mexico while their claims are being adjudicated. The Trump administration, in an effort to alleviate the ongoing crisis at the border, announced an expansion of the program last month as part of a trade deal with Mexico.
O’Rourke, who had just returned from visiting asylum-seekers in Ciudad Juarez who were then awaiting entry into the U.S., lambasted the Trump administration for not allowing the migrants to enter the country and remain until their respective hearings.
“Me going over to Ciudad Juarez today, our — our sister city across the border from El Paso — to meet with asylum seekers who have traveled hundreds, in some cases thousands, of miles fleeing the deadliest countries on the face of the planet coming to this country trying to follow our asylum laws and through a program that effectively shuts them out of this country and our laws are forced to stay in Ciudad Juarez, where they are prey to criminal organizations, where they are penniless and where they are suffering and where too many feel like they are forced to try to cross in between our ports of entry,” O’Rourke told Margaret Brennan.
“As we saw earlier this week, a picture of Oscar and Valeria, who died trying to do that from what the Matamoros to Brownsville,” he continued. “This inhumane policy is causing suffering and death, and I want to call attention to what we are doing. So going to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and meeting with these asylum seekers is a great way for the American public to know what is being done in our name right now.”
The comments came after acting homeland-security secretary Kevin McAleenan credited the expansion of the MPP with reducing the flow of asylum-seekers that has overwhelmed holding facilities in recent months.
Migrant apprehensions fell to 87,000 in June after reaching 144,000 in May. There have been 600,000 apprehensions at the border this fiscal year, the highest number of any fiscal year in a decade.