Ohio Republican Senate Candidate Bernie Moreno on Border Trip: This Crisis Is “Intentional’

Ohio Republican Bernie Moreno, a candidate for U.S. Senate, has released a video message telling those seeking to immigrate to America illegally to “wait in line.”
Bernie Moreno/YouTube

Ohio Republican Senate candidate Bernie Moreno told Breitbart News this week that after he visited the Del Rio sector of the U.S. border with Mexico, where thousands of Haitian migrants are streaming across—and traveled into Mexico as well—he has reached the conclusion that the crisis is “intentional.”

“I always winced a little bit when I heard people say this was intentional because I thought, you know, that’s a pretty serious charge, and, you know, you’re an elected official of the United States of America, and you’re intentionally harming the country?” Moreno told Breitbart News. “You’re basically accusing them of being traitors, right? After spending four hours between Del Rio and Acuna, it’s intentional. It’s 100 percent intentional.”

Haitian migrants, part of a group of over 10,000 people staying in an encampment on the US side of the border, cross the Rio Grande river to get food and water in Mexico, after another crossing point was closed near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas on September 19, 2021. (Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images)

Haitian migrants, part of a group of over 10,000 people staying in an encampment on the US side of the border, cross the Rio Grande river to get food and water in Mexico, after another crossing point was closed near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, on September 19, 2021 (Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images).

Moreno, who is running in a crowded GOP primary in Ohio for the Republican nomination in the race to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), is a legal immigrant to the United States from Colombia. He traveled to the border this week to speak to local residents in Del Rio about what their thoughts are on all of this.

“We flew into Del Rio, Texas, which is where all these Haitian caravans are landing,” Moreno said. “It’s a typical border town, mostly obviously Hispanic with people who have moved to the U.S. from Mexico legally and settled in there, and what’s ironic about this whole thing is the people in Del Rio—Hispanic and Mexican Americans—are absolutely flaming pissed. That’s the only thing I would say. They can’t believe our country is encouraging people to come here illegally. You can have a conversation about a million immigrants—which is what we let in per year—or a million and a half or a half a million. You can’t have a conversation about people coming here illegally. It’s the most ludicrous conversation there is.”

Moreno is also bilingual and told Breitbart News that on his trip to the border, he traveled into Acuna, Mexico, to speak to locals there in Spanish about their experience with this crisis as well.

“It’s highlighted very visually. When you cross the international bridge, which I did, into Acuna, Mexico…By the way, 98 percent of the economy there is controlled by the drug cartel,” Moreno said. “I went there, south, with no security. Everybody said I was out of my mind. I said either you have balls or you don’t have balls. So I went in there for an hour and a half, went around and talked to the people. So when you come back into the U.S.—I want you to visualize this. You’re crossing the long bridge. You get stopped immediately. The minute you enter U.S. territory, you get stopped by Customs and Border Patrol. You have to show your United States passport. If you don’t have it, they point a gun at you and your car turned right back around, and you go back into Mexico, okay? So we’re happy that’s the way it should be, right? But forty feet to the west of the bridge on the river, they had a rope that was installed from one tree in Mexico to a tree in America with handles so that when the people were walking across this river they could grab onto the rope and not trip and fall as they enter the country illegally. Once they got to the American side, illegally, they were fed, they were clothed, and they were put on a bus to a random town in America. So on the legal bridge, a gun gets pointed at you and you turn around. On the river crossing, you get across and you get rewarded. That’s the state of immigration policy in America today.”

Moreno added that from conversations with locals, he got the sense that people are “sick of the pandering. They’re sick of the lies. They’re sick of the idea that, ‘Hey, we expect you to wait in line,’ like if you cross that bridge, you get a gun pointed at you and turn around, right, is one standard, but there’s another standard of crossing illegally.”

“By the way, it’s almost like a sick Hunger Games, where we’re expecting these illegal migrants to go through this obstacle course of illegal activity, and then, there’s a golden rainbow where we reward you with a bus ticket to whatever town in America you can name,” Moreno said. “It’s crazy and depraved. And keep in mind Hispanics. Here’s what we care about. We’re hugely faith people. God is an important part of our life. The Democrats—they want to eliminate God from our communities. We’re all about families. The left wants to eliminate families. We’re all about self-reliance and opportunity. The left is all about dependence and outcome, right? We are emphatically pro-life. The left wants abortion on demand any time, any place, for any reason. So you look at that. We don’t trust government; the left wants us to be beholden to government—so you look at all those things, and you say what we haven’t done as Republicans is realize that.”

Moreno added, too, that he thinks Republicans have not connected well with the Hispanic community—and that the GOP can do even better winning over Hispanic voters.

“What we haven’t done as Republicans is realize there is this giant population of people that aren’t Democrats—they’re Republicans—but we don’t talk to them the right way,” Moreno said. “Here’s what would blow your mind: I’m in Acuna, literally walking around and thinking to myself, ‘Am I going to be former Senate candidate Bernie Moreno gunned down in Acuna, Mexico?’ I’m walking around the town and walking up to random people, and I asked them a question: ‘What do you think about President Trump?’ And ‘What do you think about President Biden?’ Now, what do you think every other news reporter on earth would expect the answer to be? It was the opposite: They love Trump. They love that he stood up for America. They want to see people that stand up for their own country. The other thing is he forced the Mexican government to deploy troops at the border at scale. We went through a checkpoint in Acuna that goes from one town to the next. They had three military officers. But when Trump was president, there would have been 30 there—so the drug cartel activity was contained because they surged all these troops to the border. They love Trump for that, right? They also understand there’s a legal way and an illegal way because they’re people of faith. But hate isn’t even a strong enough word for what they think about Biden. He limited all these troops at the border. The drug cartels came in in force. They see what’s going on with these Haitians coming in.”

US President Donald Trump speaks with members of the US Customs and Border Patrol as he tours the border wall between the United States and Mexico in Calexico, California on April 5, 2019. - President Donald Trump landed in California to view newly built fencing on the Mexican border, even as he retreated from a threat to shut the frontier over what he says is an out-of-control influx of migrants and drugs. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Donald Trump speaks with members of the US Customs and Border Patrol as he tours the border wall between the United States and Mexico in Calexico, California on April 5, 2019 (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images).

Moreno also said that every single person he spoke to in Mexico wanted to come to the United States but wanted to do it legally—and they were upset watching people eschew the system to get into the United States by cutting the line.

“I asked people, ‘If you could come to America today with all that’s going on, how many of you would come in?’ The answer was, ‘100 percent of us would,’” Moreno said. “One hundred percent of us would rather live in America, but we don’t break laws; we do what our faith tells us to do. Yet here they see these Haitian refugees coming in, making a shitshow of their town, their public park had human feces on the ground, toilet paper, shoes, napkins, just garbage everywhere, and then crossing the river and being rewarded. They look at it, and they go, ‘This is totally and completely bullshit.’ By the way, here’s the other punchline: this has been going on since February and March. The difference is back then, it was 100 a day or 50 a day or 200 a day. It was manageable for the administration, and they could hide it. It wasn’t until tens of thousands came that it got daylight.”

A group of Haitian migrants dine in a Border Patrol detention facility in the Tucson Sector on September 24 (Photo: U.S. Border Patrol).

Moreno has been calling what is happening on the border an “invasion” for months, including in a recent Breitbart News oped and in interviews. Asked about that, he said the people he spoke to on both sides of the border also see it that way.

“What’s funny about that is I’ve been saying that for months, but you know who else uses that term?” Moreno said. “The people in Del Rio and the people in Acuna. The people in Acuna—again, I’m speaking to them in Spanish… [Moreno speaks Spanish for a moment.] You know what that means? ‘Why are you allowing your country to be invaded?’ That’s their words. I think I’m talking to the people in Del Rio who are saying our country is being invaded. This is a city with 18,000 people with as many Haitian refugees under that bridge as there were in the entire population of that town that lives on a knife’s edge. This town—this isn’t Martha’s Vineyard. This isn’t Edgartown. This is a town that is working class people that are barely getting by, and they’re watching a population of the size of their entire town cross over in one month. They’re sitting there going what are you guys doing? I’ll give you an example. Number one, the bridge was closed because, of course, they had 18,000 people under this bridge, right? And they had to clear all this up.”

As a result of the migrant surge on the border, Moreno said, it has disrupted daily life for people on both sides.

“As a result, the people who go back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico—that’s a lot, for health care, for shopping, for whatever—it’s a very open border that people can come and go legally, right?” Moreno said. “A guy I talked to had to spend three hours every day to get to work and three hours every day to get home because the bridge was closed, and he had to do that every day for a week. He had six hours a day added to him because our government was inept. By the way, he’s a military veteran, served two tours in Iraq, became a U.S. citizen the legal way, has a fiancée in Mexico, and he’s been working two and a half years to get her legal status the right way, and he cannot do that, so he’s been living in Mexico with her, and he goes back and forth every day to Mexico and goes back to work in the U.S. and goes back at night. As he goes to work and home every day crossing this bridge and he can’t bring his fiancée in, he sees Haitian refugees crossing illegally and being shipped into U.S. towns.”

Moreno also said locals told him many of the Haitians coming in had money to spend—and were wealthier than some of the locals in Acuna. Several pregnant women were among the migrants as well—and even a case of leprosy emerged in Del Rio.

“These are people who were buying stuff at the drug stores, going to banks, going to restaurants—so they had money to spend,” Moreno said. “They’re not economic refugees, by the way, let alone asylum seekers, yet the left wants to pretend these are persecuted persons coming across. Also, lots and lots of pregnant women are coming in. I guess a few gave birth under the bridge. There was a case of leprosy that was reported among the people in Del Rio.”

Moreno also said the local police department had to help the Border Patrol, so crime was a risk in Del Rio as well.

“The other thing that happened is all the Del Rio Police Department had to be surged to help the Border Patrol, so, of course, the criminals in Del Rio and every town nearby, it was open season because the cops were all preoccupied,” Moreno said. “That’s exactly what the drug cartels want, right? If you can get all the Border Patrol agents processing these Haitian migrants, well, ‘Let’s go. We know how to get stuff across.’ Some of these checkpoints weren’t even manned. I’m not a genius. It took me four hours to figure this out. Kamala Harris is the Vice President of the United States of America. You’re telling me she couldn’t figure this out and do something about it?”


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