Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke made a campaign stop in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, over the weekend, where he held a roundtable discussion with asylum-seekers from Central America to hear their concerns over U.S. immigration policies.
What are the details?
The former Texas congressman staged a sit-down with residents of a migrant shelter, who complained of being denied entry into the U.S. until their asylum claims have been processed.
O'Rourke highlighted some of their stories in a Facebook message following the meeting, and said in a livestream video, "We hope, by sharing these stories, that the conscience of our country is awoken right now, and the need to change the policies that we have in place" becomes apparent, The Associated Press reported.
O'Rourke added in his post, "The wealthiest, the most powerful country on the face of the planet is turning these families away from a land comprised of refugees and asylum-seekers the world over. This can't be us. This can't be America. But right now, it's America and it's on all of us to make this right.
"We must end the Remain in Mexico policy, end metering, end family separation, and end the detention of those who pose absolutely no threat," the Democrat continued. "But we must go far beyond that and fix the entire system."
This isn't O'Rourke's first meeting with migrants housed in Ciudad Juarez, which is across the border from El Paso, Texas. O'Rourke held a similar sit-down there in December, prior to announcing his candidacy for president, the AP noted. He told a group of Guatemalan migrants during that visit, "We're here to understand your story and to see how we can help you seek asylum in our country."
In O'Rourke's plan for reforming the U.S. immigration system, he accuses the Trump administration of "manufacturing crises" and promises that as president, O'Rourke would "immediately halt work on the border wall — and his first budget, and every budget, will include zero dollars for this unnecessary wall."
O'Rourke believes U.S. taxpayer dollars would be better spent in Latin American countries, and has proposed "investing $5 billion in the region primarily through non-governmental organizations, community groups (such as Municipal Crime Prevention Committees) and congregations, and public-private partnerships."