AOC slams Joe Biden govt as it reopens migrant facility for minors in Texas: 'This has never been okay'
The progressive Democratic lawmaker, who criticized the former Donald Trump administration over the same, said it didn't matter which party was in power
New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday, February 23, slammed the Joe Biden administration over its decision to reopen a temporary influx center for unaccompanied children in Carrizo Springs in Texas. The 31-year-old lawmaker said in a tweet “This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay” irrespective of the party in power.
It was on Monday, February 22, when the Washington Post reported that the emergency facility was reopened to accommodate up to 700 minors aged between 13 and 17. It may be mentioned here that Ocasio-Cortez or AOC had visited the detention facilities in the Lone Star State in June 2019 and slammed on Twitter the conditions in which the immigrants were kept and treated. She wrote: “Now I’m on my way to Clint, where the Trump admin was denying children toothpaste and soap. This has been horrifying so far. It is hard to understate the enormity of the problem. We’re talking systemic cruelty w/ a dehumanizing culture that treats them like animals.”
Now I’m on my way to Clint, where the Trump admin was denying children toothpaste and soap.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 1, 2019
This has been horrifying so far. It is hard to understate the enormity of the problem. We’re talking systemic cruelty w/ a dehumanizing culture that treats them like animals.
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Later in the same month, AOC traded barbs with Republican lawmakers after she said the US was running “concentration camps” on the border. The WaPo reported then that AOC, who was serving her first term then, told her followers on Instagram that it was high time that something be done about the fact that “concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the home of the free”. She also accused the then president Donald Trump of “an authoritarian and fascist presidency”.
Back in the present, AOC is not happy even when her own party is in power in Washington. She came up with a series of tweets besides saying “this is not okay” and called for the need for a “bold reimagination”.
This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay - no matter the administration or party. https://t.co/AEV7s7QQnB— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 23, 2021
Our immigration system is built on a carceral framework. It’s no accident that challenging how we approach both these issues are considered “controversial” stances.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 23, 2021
They require reimagining our relationship to each other and challenging common assumptions we take for granted.
It’s only 2 mos into this admin & our fraught, unjust immigration system will not transform in that time.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 23, 2021
That’s why bold reimagination is so impt.
DHS shouldn’t exist, agencies should be reorganized, ICE gotta go, ban for-profit detention, create climate refugee status & more.
Ilhan Omar also speaks out
Ilhan Omar, the representative from Minnesota and AOC’s fellow Squad member, also expressed her disappointment over the matter to tweet: “Multiple administrations have made the callous choice to lock up thousands of children seeking refuge in the United States of America. As long as we see people seeking a better life as ‘aliens’ instead of fellow human beings, our immigration system will continue to fail us.”
Multiple administrations have made the callous choice to lock up thousands of children seeking refuge in the United States of America.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 24, 2021
As long as we see people seeking a better life as “aliens” instead of fellow human beings, our immigration system will continue to fail us. https://t.co/xE1lmgSnJj
According to the Post, the facility was being reopened since the Covid-19 pandemic restricted the capacity at other facilities. In July 2019, Biden had reportedly told lawmakers about his plan to end detention of child migrants. Fox News said it appeared the new president, despite decrying “kids in cage” in times of Trump and reversing his predecessor’s policy causing separation of families, decided to continue with the same practice.
Fox also quoted a White House spokesperson as saying on February 22: “The President’s approach is to deal with immigration comprehensively, fairly and humanely. The policy of this administration is not to expel unaccompanied children who arrive at our borders. The Border Patrol will continue to transfer unaccompanied children to the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement so they may be properly cared for in appropriate shelters, consistent with their best interest.”
Policy not to expel unaccompanied children: Psaki
The White House also asked Fox to speak with the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency when it was asked whether the CBP detained the children but it was yet to respond when contacted, Fox reported. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday, February 23, told Fox that the administration’s policy did not aim to expel unaccompanied children. “The process, how it works, is that Customs and Border control continue to transfer unaccompanied children to the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement," she told Fox.
Former acting deputy homeland security secretary Ken Cuccinelli told Fox News on Feb 23, that any time the CBP forcibly held children in custody, it means they were detained. “If they're not free to leave, it's detention, regardless of the nature of the facility,” Cuccinelli, who recently started working as a visiting fellow with the conservative Heritage Foundation, said.