Former President Bill Clinton said the United States border needs "security" and "order" during a campaign speech in Laredo, Texas, for Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar on Monday.
"We do need border security. We need order. This is a country of order," Clinton said. "All my life, I've been pro-immigration, and the older I get, the more pro-immigration I get."
Clinton, a Democrat, said the country needs immigration, but it must be in an "ordered, legal way of continuing to ensure the flow of vital immigrants in our national bloodstream."
According to Customs and Border Protection, the agency encountered 2,766,682 illegal migrants crossing the border in Fiscal Year 2022, an increase of about 800,000 from 2021's record 1,956,519 encounters, and more than four times the 646,822 encounters in 2020.
Clinton said that those coming to the U.S. need to be treated with "dignity," and children should not have been separated from parents.
"I don't care how many votes are in it," he said. "We never should have let our children be separated from their parents."
Clinton said that with Cuellar's help, Congress is trying to set up "an adequate system, up and down the Rio Grande to live, eat, sleep, and get healthcare" in a dignified way, but also in "an orderly process."
"Thanks to people like Henry there is a serious effort being made in the Congress to try to set up an adequate system all up and down the Rio Grande to try to give people a chance to live and eat and sleep and get health care in dignity, but also be properly processed and investigated to see if they should come in," Clinton said.
Cuellar was ahead of Republican challenger Cassy Garcia in the polls 52.7% to 47.3% going into election day, according to the political website FiveThirtyEight.
Garcia, along with two other Republican women running in Texas, dismissed Clinton's visit, pointing to his history of womanizing while president, including with White House intern Monica Lewinsky in the 1990s, the Texas Tribune reported.
"We are not the least bit surprised that Cartel Cuellar is bringing a 'sinvergüenza' [scoundrel] to South Texas to try to take down a young woman, but it won't work," Brittany McGivern, a spokesperson for the campaign of Garcia, Cuellar's GOP opponent, told the publication.
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