In dueling border rallies, Trump and O'Rourke tout divergent messages on immigration

  • 02/12/2019 12:00 AM
  • Camilo Montoya-Galvez
  • CBS News
The Texas border city of El Paso became a focal point of the nation's contentious debate over immigration Monday night, as President Trump and former Democratic Congressman Beto O'Rourke, a potential 2020 challenger, held dueling rallies to tout completely different immigration agendas.

In his first "Make America Great Again" campaign rally of 2019, the president again argued for the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border by railing against illegal immigration and falsely linking undocumented immigrants to disproportionate criminality. He accused Democrats of endorsing "open borders" and criticized the "far-left" for efforts to defund or abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

"Illegal immigration hurts all Americans — including millions of legal immigrants — by driving down wages, draining public resources and claiming countless innocent lives," Mr. Trump said, adding later, "We will never abolish ICE."

Encouraged by boisterous chants of "build the wall!" and "USA!" the president also vowed to never sign legislation that "forces the mass release of violent criminals," slamming Democrats for wanting to cap the number of beds in ICE detention centers — the source of a recent impasse in budget negotiations in Congress.

It is unclear if he will support a budget agreement to avert another government shutdown that was brokered on Capitol Hill minutes before he took the stage. A congressional aide told CBS News the legislation includes $1.375 billion in funding for physical barriers and a decrease of the overall number of ICE detention beds to 40,520, down from the current 49,057 level. In an interview recorded before the rally, the president told Fox News' Laura Ingraham he was briefed on the deal "very quickly."
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