Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke is sounding like he’s figured out that a certain mayor from Indiana is sucking all the air out of his campaign these days. (And probably a lot of his campaign contributions as well.) As such, O’Rourke has clearly determined that he needs to find a way to push himself further into the left lane of the primaries before he winds up in a ditch. That need to out-liberal his opponents appeared to be on display this weekend when Beto was addressing a gathering of union representatives in Las Vegas. When the subject of illegal immigration came up, rather than just sympathizing with their plight, the candidate decided to turn the hyperbole knob all the way to eleven and referred to our immigration policies as a modern form of slavery. (Washington Examiner)
Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke suggested illegal immigrants were akin to slaves during his Saturday afternoon remarks to the Service Employees International Union.
“[With] Immigration. Millions [are] living in the shadows, working some of the toughest jobs, lucky to make a minimum wage. Some not even making that,” O’Rourke told the audience of roughly 200 labor union members, organizers, and activists at Las Vegas’ Enclave venue. “Kept in modern-day bondage, their immigration status used as leverage to keep them down from fully participating in this country’s success.”
This is reminiscent of when he told MSNBC that rather than just stopping new border wall construction, he would tear down the existing fencing and barriers. When you’re trying to go hard to the left, you might as well swing for the fences, right? (Pun intended.)
Here’s the relevant portion of the speech through the magic of Twitter.
Robert Francis O’Rourke likens immigration laws to slavery; says illegal immigrants live in “modern day bondage” in the US. pic.twitter.com/mjl4f8MOwm
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) April 27, 2019
Speaking to the SEIU seems to be an odd place to bring this rather sensitive subject up. One of the bigger divisions inside the Democratic coalition is found in the fact that the unions are always looking for new members, but working-class employees aren’t always thrilled at the idea of millions of new people competing for their jobs, particularly when they’re frequently willing to work for the lowest wages possible. I’m pretty sure that crowd would have been more interested in hearing about striking down right to work laws and further jacking up the minimum wage.
It’s also interesting how Beto has joined many of his fellow travelers in his party in using the phrase “living in the shadows.” That’s a rather cynical way to say “breaking the law.” What O’Rourke also fails to note is the status of the employers involved in such stories. It’s definitely true that some unscrupulous employers have hired illegal aliens and threatened to report them to ICE in order to keep them in line. Some have been arrested for this over the past few years. But that’s not the United States immigration enforcement program keeping the workers “in bondage.” That’s the work of criminal employers who knowingly break the law by hiring them in the first place.
Where precisely does Beto wish to place the blame for this? On ICE? On our existing immigration laws? Or perhaps it really doesn’t matter. At this point, Beto O’Rourke is watching his grasp on the possible nomination slipping away and he needs to play catch-up. Perhaps he sees a speech like this as a way to do that. Unfortunately for him there are at least a dozen other nomination hopefuls out there already peddling the same brand of crazy.