Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Thursday her position on migrant detention centers, which she has insisted are “concentration camps,” has been “remarkably consistent” throughout the past two presidential administrations.
The freshman congresswoman appeared on CNN to discuss the ongoing controversy over the treatment of detained immigrants by President Donald Trump’s administration. Ocasio-Cortez has repeatedly called migrant detainment facilities under Trump, “concentration camps.”
CNN host Jake Tapper grilled Ocasio-Cortez on whether she had referred to detainment centers as “concentration camps” while President Barack Obama was in office. In response, the progressive New York lawmaker touted her mission to “speak truth to power.”
“Well, at the time I was working in a restaurant,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
"There were concentration camps under Obama and under Bill Clinton. That’s in the story you retweeted. Did you call them concentration camps at the time when Obama was president?"@jaketapper asks @AOC
"at the time I was working in a restaurant …" pic.twitter.com/R0ltbQyJr0
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) June 27, 2019
“But I absolutely was outspoken against Obama’s immigration policies and the detention of families then,” she added. “I think it’s a remarkably consistent position, and I’m not here to defend wrong actions just because they happened under a Democratic administration. I’m here to speak truth to power, and if it’s wrong, it’s wrong. And I frankly don’t care what president does it.”
Ocasio-Cortez and the concentration camps controversy
Tapper’s line of questioning insinuated a criticism made by many conservatives responding to the current immigration debate: Outrage over the border crisis by liberals and big media often seems selective.
Trump’s hardline stance on immigration has never played well with Democrats. But in recent weeks, his opponents have stepped up their rhetoric against his administration’s treatment of migrants, particularly with respect to children housed in border detention centers.
Ocasio-Cortez has been at the forefront of a campaign to cast the Trump administration as the villains in a historic struggle over human rights. The New York Democrat has insisted migrant detention facilities under Trump are “concentration camps” and has stopped just short of comparing his administration to the Third Reich.
“I’ll never forget this, because it was the moment I saw with my own eyes that the America I love was becoming a nation that steals refugee children from their parents,& caged them,” Ocasio-Cortez told her 4.5 million Twitter followers on Monday night, referencing photographs of her weeping at the U.S.-Mexico border a year ago. “More kids died after this. To date, no one has been held accountable.”
But as CNN anchor John King suggested this week, Trump’s immigration policy is arguably not so different from that of his liberal predecessor’s. Indeed, as The Associated Press noted Saturday in a fact check, Obama operated and in some cases built the detention centers liberals are now bemoaning.
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