Beto O'Rourke spoke in Wisconsin this weekend in his apparently still active campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. Talking to reporters, he outlined his plan to make sure that no one is criminally prosecuted for "being a human being."
As campaign promises go, that seems pretty easy to keep, broadly speaking. Watch the clip below, via The Hill on Twitter.
Beto was answering a question from a reporter who, like most reporters, was fully bought in on the farthest left talking points of Democrats running for the nomination. Citing Julián Castro, the reporter asked O'Rourke why he wouldn't just go ahead and agree that nobody who crosses the border illegally should be prosecuted for doing so. In short, decriminalizing unauthorized border crossing, as many Democrats favor.
O'Rourke tried his best to walk the line between saying that's not a feasible notion and still sounding very far left on immigration, as the Democratic primary base demands.
"If we're talking about making sure that no one who seeks asylum or refuge in this country is criminally prosecuted," he said, referring to members of the Democratic caucus. "Then we're all talking about the same thing."
"In my administration, we are going to make sure that no one is criminally prosecuted for being a human being," he said.
After listing several general Democrat talking points on the border and immigration, he said that while his changes would ensure no one would have a reason to "have to cross in between ports of entry."
"But, if someone does none the less," he said. "and they're seeking safety or shelter or refuge or asylum, they will not be prosecuted."
He said his administration would rewrite the law to "remove criminal prosecution as a consequence for doing what any human would do."
He said they would reserve prosecution for anyone who poses a threat to the safety or security of the United States. Watch the clip, from The Hill.
The expansive criteria he listed, which is anyone claiming to be seeking not only asylum, but "safety" or "refuge" or even merely "shelter", shows how far left the party has tacked. He is plainly arguing to decriminalize unauthorized border crossings under nearly every conceivable rubric, and yet because he says that people who are dangerous to the actual country would still face a criminal charge, Castro and the reporter and the base think he's to the right on the issue.
What O'Rourke is outlining, essentially a "just barely shy of open" border, is a point of criticism among his fellow 2020 Democrats.
He may not want to prosecute people simply for being human beings, but as Sunday morning talk show hosts ask every week, and ever get an answer about, will there be anyone who can be prosecuted at all for entering the country illegally under any Democrat? Beto's redefinition of the law leaves that exactly as unanswered as Castro and others have left it, despite his minor and unquantified caveats about people who are a "danger."
Whether you are for more open borders or less open borders, if you're voting in 2020 you should want clearer answers from these candidates. And so far the press isn't getting them.