Diana, who was born in El Paso, said her mother was from a small town in Mexico, and her father was a U.S. citizen.
“My mom was a permanent resident when she was studying to become a citizen,” Diana said, with a dental mask and goggles covering her face. “The neighborhood really helped her out … so she could learn more English and that way she would be able to pass her citizenship.”
She added: “The entire neighborhood was there when she did and it was wonderful.”
O’Rourke, who led the questioning from the dentist chair, asked what it was like growing up along the border.
“It’s a beautiful community. We all support each other and love each other but it’s not what everyone thinks badly of us,” she said. “It’s actually a wonderful place to live and grow up.”
O’Rourke, who is weighing a potential 2020 presidential bid after his loss to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in one of last year’s highest-profile midterm contests, posted his video as the president was heading to McAllen, Texas to visit the border on day 20 of the partial federal government shutdown.
The president, in an effort to make a case for the $5.7 billion in funding for a concrete wall or steel barrier along the southern border, has emphasized the “growing humanitarian and security crisis” of surging illegal immigration.
Democratic leaders have accused the president of having “manufactured” a humanitarian crisis at the border.
“President Trump must stop holding people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must re-open the government,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said this week.
Democrats and Republicans have been at a stalemate for weeks over funding for border security. Trump has said he is open to “compromise,” but has the “absolute right” to declare a national emergency if they cannot come to an agreement.