U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, on Friday attacked President Donald Trump’s immigration and trade plans as a threat to the North American economy and described the president’s reasoning for building a wall on the southern border as “racist.”
“In my lifetime, and I’m 44 years old, we’ve never had such a serious situation at our U.S.-Mexico border in our bilateral relationship with Mexico, and if it continues, it’s going to be deeply devastating to the state of Texas,” O’Rourke told reporters outside the Texas Capitol. “When you begin with the premise that Mexico is sending rapists and criminal to the U.S. and you meet that with a wall, that wall in itself is a racist reaction to a racist myth that does not reflect the reality of this country at all.”
O’Rourke, a former El Paso City Council member who is in his third term in Congress, said he has been traveling the state and is considering running against Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 election.
Proposals that would limit trade with Mexico, like the 20 percent tax on Mexican imports that Trump’s press secretary floated on Thursday, could be disastrous for the North American economy, costing jobs in the U.S. and fueling illegal immigration by destabilizing the Mexican economy, O’Rourke said .
“There are 6 million jobs nationally, just under 500,000 in the state of Texas and one out of four in the community that I represent that are dependent on U.S.-Mexico trade,” O’Rourke said. “A border wall, a 20 percent border tariff, a trade war with Mexico, dropping out of NAFTA — all of those things jeopardize jobs.”