Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seemed to advocate “open borders” during a town hall Saturday, suggesting that living in the United States is a human right.
Speaking to constituents in Queens, the New York Democrat characterized immigration as a form of “liberation.”
“It’s the ability to move and be — it’s the freedom to be, really, is what we’re talking about,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And I think that all people should be free to be here and in our communities.”
Ocasio-Cortez also declared that the U.S. government must provide “mental healthcare services” to migrant children “for the rest of their lives” because of the “lifelong trauma for which we, the United States, are responsible” for separating them from their parents at the border.
“It chills me to my core to think about 20 years from now, when these kids grow up, the story that they will have about America,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez on immigration: “I think that all people should be free, to be, here and in our communities” pic.twitter.com/GJIg3ihvMK
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) July 22, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez was making the case for abolishing the Department of Homeland Security, which has overseen immigration enforcement agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, since it was created in 2002 under President George W. Bush.
“When people say, ‘Oh, you wanna talk about dismantling DHS or abolishing ICE or all of these things, these are such radical agendas,’” Ocasio-Cortez said. “First of all, I think that reorganizing and getting rid of DHS is not as radical as George Bush’s creation, implementation of DHS in the first place.”
She went on to fault DHS for lumping together immigration enforcement with the Coast Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. She called the arrangement “part of a larger strategy” that leaves “agencies consolidated under one very largely unaccountable structure, umbrella.”
“It doesn’t make any sense, it’s a power play, and it’s created the crisis that we have today,” she said. “So, it’s not that radical to say maybe George Bush wasn’t right. It’s really not that radical.”
Ocasio-Cortez also repeated her calls for President Donald Trump to be impeached and for the formation of a “9/11-style” commission to investigate his immigration policies. Revisiting her weeklong spat with the president, she said his suggestion that she and her “Squad” should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came| proved “his policies are not about immigration, it’s about ethnicity and racism.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and “open borders”
The left-wing congresswoman has a long record of moralistic and often-inaccurate rhetoric about immigration. In an April town hall, she went as far as to blame Trump for “creating undocumented populations in the United States.”
Last month, Ocasio-Cortez likened U.S. migrant detention centers to Nazi concentration camps. After touring Border Patrol detention facilities in Texas on Monday with 13 other House Democrats, she compared the Trump administration to “authoritarian regimes” and said the U.S. is undoubtedly “headed to fascism.”
She also said repeatedly that agents are forcing detained migrant men, women and children to drink out of toilets – though she was vague about how she came by this information.
“That’s the end of that race!”
Ocasio-Cortez is not along among Democrats. During the first Democratic debates last month, all the candidates proposed amnesty for undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States, with the sole exception of criminals. They also unanimously endorsed giving such immigrants free healthcare.
Almost all of the candidates supported allowing undocumented immigrants to become citizens if they do not commit a crime once they enter the United States. And large majority of them called for decriminalizing illegal border crossings, which would remove the grounds for detaining illegal immigrants.
Party leaders, including Pelosi of California and Schumer of New York, have denied charges that their party supports “open borders,” noting that last year Democrats offered Trump $25 million in funding for border security and Trump’s wall.
Still, Trump responded to the debate on Twitter by triumphantly declaring the 2020 race decided.