Beto O’Rourke, a former Democratic senatorial and presidential candidate who launched a bid for governor of Texas on Monday, publicly broke with President Joe Biden just hours after starting his campaign, telling a local TV station Biden isn’t doing enough to secure the southern border.
O’Rourke, a former U.S. representative from an El Paso-based district, said in an interview with Fort Worth’s KTVT-TV that the federal government should be doing more to ensure there is “predictability, order and the rule of law” at the border.
He said the U.S. needs to do a better job of making sure migrants who cross the border without a credible asylum claim are deported back to their home country, a position O’Rourke said “is not popular amongst all Democrats.”
The number of border crossings has soared since Biden became president, rising from around 78,000 encounters at the southwest border in January to more than 200,000 a month during the summer, and polling shows that border security is one of the top issues for Texans in the governor’s race.
“It’s clear that President Biden could be doing a better job at the border, it is not enough of a priority for his administration,” O’Rourke said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who is running for reelection, has already attacked O’Rourke over immigration policy. The governor released a campaign ad earlier this month, before O’Rourke formally entered the race, criticizing him for opposing the construction of a wall along the southern border, which was championed by former President Donald Trump.