Beto O’Rourke is set to visit Mexico on Sunday to meet with migrants in an effort to highlight the conditions facing those forced to wait outside the United States as they seek asylum.
The trip to Ciudad Juárez comes the same day O’Rourke is holding a “Rally for Children” outside a Border Patrol facility in Clint, Texas – the site where lawyers say migrants, including unaccompanied children, are being denied access to basic necessities such as soap, toothbrushes and blankets.
The former Texas congressman will meet in Mexico with people who are seeking asylum, predominantly from the “Northern Triangle” countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, and are being forced to wait outside the country for the duration of their immigration proceedings under President Donald Trump’s administration’s “Remain in Mexico” program – which O’Rourke’s campaign said is “unlawful.”
“In all of the debate around immigration, we can’t forget who it impacts most: the people traveling thousands of miles, fleeing the worst kind of violence and oppression,” O’Rourke said in a statement. “Turning away refugees, families and asylum seekers is not who we are as a country. But as long as Donald Trump is president – it will be.”
It’s O’Rourke’s first international trip as a Democratic presidential candidate, but to a city he has visited often: the bridge from Ciudad Juárez to El Paso is just five miles from O’Rourke’s house, which overlooks Mexico.
The Mexico trip and rally in Clinton come as O’Rourke’s campaign focuses on the conditions facing those seeking asylum but being held at detention facilities. He visited the Homestead child detention facility in Florida on Thursday and Southwest Key in Houston, where migrant teenagers are being held.
As a Texas Senate candidate last year, O’Rourke played a key role in turning attention to the detention of children in Tornillo, Texas, leading a massive rally there on Father’s Day of 2018 and returning to lead congressional delegations to the facility.