“I’m mad, y’all.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wept on Thursday during an event at which she renewed her call to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Speaking to a press gaggle at a Moveon.Org event in Washington, DC, the New York Democrat opined that Latinos can’t be immigrants because America is their “native land.”
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#AbolishICE: Accompanied by fellow freshmen congresswomen Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, both Democrats, Ocasio-Cortez emphasized the “moral” urgency of abrogating ICE.
“This is one of the most urgent moral issues and crises that we have in America right now,” she said. “This is not a political issue. Children dying in detention centers should not be a partisan concern. It should be a universal concern for every American in the United States.”
As proof of the exigency, Ocasio-Cortez cited the case of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin, a Guatemalan immigrant who died in a US border facility. The tragedy occurred, however, under the custody of Customs and Border Protection, not ICE – a distinction the 29-year-old lawmaker has failed to make on more than one occasion.
“We’re here to say that an agency like ICE, which repeatedly and systematically violates human rights, does not deserve a dime,” she said.
“Until they can prove that they are honoring human rights, until they can make a good-faith effort to expand and embrace immigrants, the immigrants in this nation that have always been a part, and have always been a core element of American democracy, until they can prove good faith to an American ideal they do not deserve any resources for their radical agenda.’
Native: Ocasio-Cortez also argued that prosecuting Latinos for traveling across the land is immoral because they are descendent from the land’s original inhabitants.
“We are standing on native land. And Latino people are descendants of native people. And we cannot be told, and criminalized, simply because for our identity or our status. Period,” she said.
(Given that many residents of Central and South America are in fact the descendants of Europeans — hence “Latinos” — should the United States, according to Ocasio-Cortez, instate a consanguinity census to cull immigrants by their percentage of Native American blood?)
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Blame Trump: Ocasio-Cortez blamed President Donald Trump for “[continuing] to militarize and weaponize” the border. Though the president spoke many times, including during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, about the need to draw a distinction between legal and illegal immigration (the latter of which he spoke about increasing), Ocasio-Cortez called him a liar.
“He said and spoke of the idea that he likes, quote-unquote, legal immigration. But that is a lie,” she said. The president does not like any form of immigration. He has been cutting down and imposing restrictions on legal forms, on the diversity visa lottery, on family unification, and so on.”
Why they do it: In her turn, Omar rejected the claim of immigration hawks that the blame for Maquin’s death lies with her family for dragging a child through a perilous 2,500 trek. Instead, she empathized with what she said must have been their desperation to make such a journey into “the mouth of the shark,” by which she presumably meant the United States.
“No one leaves for the mouth of the shark, unless the mouth of the shark is safer than home,” she said, reciting Somali poet Warsan Shire.
Standing behind Omar, Ocasio-Cortez wiped away a tear. Also crying was Tlaib, the other new Muslim woman in the House of Representatives.
While Ocasio-Cortez’s ability to convey genuine emotion has helped catapult her to political stardom, her grasp of the facts has proved shaky. What’s more she has shown little interest in remedying her ignorance, instead attacking fact-checkers and infamously averring that what really matters is that she’s “morally right.”
Politics: Ocasio-Cortez, the New York parvenu, has already made her own colleagues nervous with unwillingness to compromise her convictions. In her Thursday speech, she made it clear that this is not soon to change.
“I will not make a political compromise so that just a few kids less die. I will not make a compromise so that we deport – unjustly deport – just a few less. No. We will stop these practices altogether and we will not stop until they are ceased and fully held accountable,” she said.
As the crowd applauded, Ocasio-Cortez added: “Thank you. I’m mad, y’all. I’m mad. I am mad.”
Read more: Populism makes unlikely allies of Tucker Carlson and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
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