Beto O'Rourke and Barack Obama. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Lucas Jackson/Reuters; AP)
Beto O’Rourke called out former President Barack Obama’s immigration practices at a forum of women of color activists Wednesday at Texas Southern University in Houston.
When an audience member at the She the People presidential forum shouted out a question about whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should be disbanded, former Texas Rep. O’Rourke criticized not only the “practices under this president,” meaning Donald Trump, but also those carried out by his predecessor.
“I think in one year alone in the previous administration [there were] 400,000 deportations from inside the U.S.,” O’Rourke said, referring to the 409,849 ICE deportations under Obama’s administration in 2012. “Some people who had been here for decades, who posed no threat to their families, to their communities, in fact in any way that you can measure, are contributing far more than they are ever taking."
"We don’t need those internal roundups and deportations and enforcement," O'Rourke added.
“We do need to make sure that anyone who threatens the lives of our fellow Americans or has used violence, that there is accountability.” he continued. “But I want to make sure we include everyone in the solution to our challenges: economic, security, safety, democratic or otherwise. And having these ICE internal operations is not the way to do it.”
“So under an O’Rourke administration will ICE exist? Yes or no?” asked forum host and MSNBC correspondent Joy Reid.
“Yes,” said O’Rourke. “It will, but it will not employ those practices that we've seen not just under this administration but under the previous administration.”
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