Beto O’Rourke’s History of Latino Discrimination
Ten years ago when Beto O’Rourke was a City Council member in El Paso’s 8thDistrict, he played a major role in a land development plan that received support from his father-in-law, William Sanders. Latinos make up 81% of the district. However, O’Rourke seems to have forgotten that important fact at the time. The Development plan of 2007, also known as the Downtown plan, attempted to renovate the area with the help of William Sanders, who was the driving force behind the initiative. With the support of O’Rourke, William Sanders attempted to demolish historic buildings and Latino-owned small businesses to create space for bigger companies. This attempt at a monopoly raised concerns amongst Latinos in the area. Additionally, the plan was projected to kick Latinos out of their homes to make space for “better housing.”
Knowing that Latino residents will be kicked out of their homes, O’Rourke still supported the plan and refused to recuse himself from voting for it. This shady plan was met with criticisms from other city council members and locals.
In a video circulating around Facebook, where O’Rourke is seen addressing locals, he was met with disapproval. The video starts with a woman explaining to O’Rourke that the area is their “home, it has its defects but this is our home.” He stated that the plan was completely “legal and anyone can demolish buildings in the area if they wanted to.” However, when a resident asked, “why can’t these investors go [somewhere] else and build their buildings there?” O’Rourke nervously repeated his previous statement. One resident said that O’Rourke has “[them] living in fear.” This is very troubling given the fact that O’Rourke was a former City Council member and current Democratic congressional candidate.
A resident then pointed out that O’Rourke’s father-in-law was going to benefit from the plan, O’Rourke just shook his head and said “that’s your opinion.” This blatant discrimination against the Latino community in El Paso, Texas, further supports the claim that the Democrats are losing favorability among Latinos and it’s been happening for a decade. The plan was in the works for 2 years without considering the voice of the people. This shows that O’Rourke does not value the basic principles of Democracy. Furthermore, he did not bother to think about the 81% in his district and only focused on his selfish agenda.
An emotional final point was made by a woman holding a picture of the plan and said: “you have treated the people of this Barrio with tremendous disrespect.” She was followed up by another attendee, “in one of your meetings you mentioned the cockroach and lice infestations as justification to tear down our apartments… this is insulting.”
O’Rourke has also attacked the Catholic Church, forgetting that Catholicism is the second most popular religion in Texas and Latinos being a big part of that population. The history of discrimination against Latinos is present. O’Rourke has no regard for Latino-owned businesses or Latino lives in Texas. The video ended with a woman who stated the following, “We may be poor, but we have rights.” A point that O’Rourke continues to ignore today by not properly reaching out to the Latino community in his run for Ted Cruz’s seat.