Democrat presidential candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O'Rourke's response to a legitimate question at a campaign rally offers a teaching moment on immigration — just not the sort that Beto intended.
A woman at O’Rourke’s rally in Phoenix told Beto exactly what many reasonable people think about his push to end immigration enforcement and effectively open the border. She calmly and respectfully told O'Rourke that he was “pandering,” and that his policy proposals were a “slap in the face” to legal immigrants who sacrificed time, effort and money to follow the law.
What was O’Rourke’s reaction? His response all but accused this woman of wanting to kill kids.
Beto says immigrants 'pose no threat'
Forget about the slap in the face to legal immigrants. O'Rourke deemed it a slap in the face to “his conscience” that anybody would dare to question his desire to open the borders, launching into ridiculous talking points about “children in cages."
Even worse, he talked about the seven children who have died in immigration custody over the last few years — all of them tragic, none of them due to foul play on the part of Americans.
Policies have consequences: My son was murdered by an illegal immigrant. Neither he nor Mollie Tibbetts deserved to die.
In case the implication of his response — that if you oppose illegal immigration, you like dead kids — wasn’t clear enough, O'Rourke tweeted the exchange with the caption, “Immigrants pose no threat to her. And we need to call people out for saying they do.”
O’Rourke could just as easily have been talking to me.
As the mother of a police officer killed by an illegal immigrant who was able to remain in America because of the same immigration philosophy O'Rourke is pushing, the way he treated this woman makes my blood boil.
My son was killed by an illegal immigrant
Challenged on his opposition to enforcing our immigration laws, O'Rourke talked about the tragic deaths of children whose parents forced them to make a dangerous, illegal journey through the desert.
But he ignored the fact that many, many more migrants die making that crossing than die accidentally in custody — as well as the fact that those children who did die in custody already faced life-threatening conditions when they were apprehended.
Those deaths are actively encouraged by the open borders ideology, yet they aren’t important to O'Rourke.
My son, Brandon Mendoza, was killed less than 30 miles from the spot where the candidate stood and berated that woman. An illegal immigrant — the kind that Beto scoffed “posed no threat” — slammed into my son’s car as he drove home from his shift with the Mesa Police Department.
That illegal immigrant, who would not have been in our country if our laws were properly enforced, was drunk. He had alcohol in his blood at three times the legal limit. He was high on methamphetamine and driving the wrong way on the highway.
Weak enforcement has consequences
My son’s killer had multiple criminal convictions during his 20 years living illegally in America. Employing the same open borders rationale as O'Rourke, judges, policymakers and activists ensured that he was never deported.
Since my son’s death, I’ve fought to change the policies that enabled it — to get our elected officials to secure the border and remove people who have no right to be here, especially convicted criminals.
Turning on their own people?: I asked Latinos why they joined immigration law enforcement. Now I'm urging them to leave.
Beto O’Rourke has made it clear he wants the opposite. He wants us to believe that enforcing immigration law is tantamount to killing kids.
That’s a slap in the face not just to legal immigrants, but to everyone who has suffered from the sort of weak immigration enforcement that O'Rourke desires.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Beto O'Rourke immigration plan: Illegal immigrants can pose a threat