On Wednesday, candidate for U.S. Senate and U.S. Rep. Robert Francis O’Rourke of El Paso was one of the few House Democrats to vote against a resolution authored by Rep. Clay Higgins (R–La.) that expressed support for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.
The resolution had three main statements:
“Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
(1) expresses its continued support for all United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and personnel who carry out the important mission of ICE;
(2) denounces calls for the complete abolishment of ICE; and
(3) supports the efforts of all Federal agencies, State law enforcement, and military personnel who bring law and order to our Nation’s borders.”
The resolution was not a blanket endorsement of every ICE policy, nor did it claim the agency requires no reform. It was simply a rebuke to recent calls to abolish ICE, calls that have been formalized in legislation filed by Rep. Mark Pocan (D–Wisc.).
The pro-ICE resolution passed the House by a vote of 244–35, with most of the Democratic Caucus voting “present.” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D–Md.) said the reason for most Democrats’ decision not to participate in the vote was that Republicans were “playing politics.”
O’Rourke, however, voted “no,” breaking with most of his Democrat colleagues who likely sensed that an anti-law enforcement vote could do damage to the Democrats’ midterm election prospects.
He took to Twitter later to justify his vote, citing similar reasoning that his colleagues used to justify their “present” vote.
Voted on a cynical bill to give a blanket endorsement to the practices of ICE. While doing nothing to reunite kids w/ parents or address legitimate concerns about practices within ICE, it did condone militarization of the border & the admin’s zero tolerance policies. I voted NO.
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) July 18, 2018
O’Rourke’s descent into far-left attitudes on issues like immigration is likely to hurt his already weak prospects in challenging conservative champion Ted Cruz in November, when Texans will go to the polls to determine who will represent their values in the U.S. Senate.