Jake Tapper Forces Beto O’Rourke to Nail Down Position on Illegal Border Crossings: ‘Just to Get a Straight Answer’


CNN’s Jake Tapper forced former Texas Congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke to take a position on repealing a law that criminalizes border crossings, taking O’Rourke from “I don’t know” to a definitive position in the space of two-and-a-half minutes.

On Sunday morning’s edition of CNN’s State of the Union, Tapper asked O’Rourke about former HUD Secretary Julian Castro‘s support for decriminalizing border crossings, and O’Rourke repeatedly tried to skate by without answering.

Tapper noted that: “Castro’s immigration plan calls for the repeal of a law that makes it a crime to enter the United States illegally,” and asked, “Do you agree with that? Should that law be repealed?”

“I don’t know if it should be repealed, Jake,” O’Rourke began, then added that “most of those who are arriving at our border right now, especially from Central America, are at their most desperate and vulnerable moment.”

After O’Rourke delivered a lengthy immigration word salad with extra croutons, but no answer to the question, Tapper said, “Okay, but just to get a straight answer on it, it sounds to me like you think the law that makes it a crime to be in this country illegally, it sounds like you think that that should stay the law.”

“I think what I’m saying is that in the vast majority of cases, there’s no need to incarcerate or to detain migrant families, and especially children, but if somebody is attempting to smuggle human beings into the United States, if they are attempting to cross illegal drugs into this country, I want to make sure that we have the legal mechanism necessary to hold them accountable, to detain them, to make sure that they do not pose a threat to this country or to our communities,” O’Rourke said, apparently unaware of laws against smuggling.

“But you disagree with, you disagree with Julian Castro, you don’t think that it should be repealed,” Tapper said.

“Yeah, I’ve answered the question, I do not think that it should be repealed,” O’Rourke said, less than 104 seconds after he told Tapper, by name, “I don’t know if it should be repealed, Jake.”

O’Rourke added, “I’m trying to get to the heart of the issue, which is if we treat people humanely, that we improve our security not through walls and through cages, but by making sure that those who are at their most vulnerable, who are trying to follow our asylum laws, are able to do that, and that we begin to rewrite this country’s immigration laws in our own image.”

“Having people come out of the shadows demonstrably makes us safer, having folks trust local law enforcement because they have no fear that it will lead to their deportation makes our communities stronger, more secure, and safer, and it allows this country of immigrants and asylum seekers and refugees to truly live our values to the benefit not just of those immigrant families, but to the entire United States of America,” O’Rourke concluded.

Watch the clip above, via CNN.

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