Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) blasted President Joe Biden Thursday after his administration announced it would waive dozens of federal laws to begin constructing the southern border wall.
To fight the “high illegal entry” of migrants in recent months, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced Wednesday that he is waiving 26 federal laws through his power granted by Congress to construct a border wall in a section of the Rio Grande Valley Sector where there have been over 245,000 migrant encounters in this fiscal year alone, Fox News reported. The move sparked apparent confusion within the Biden administration and pushback from some members of the Democratic Party.
Ocasio-Cortez released a statement Thursday evening urging Biden to “take responsibility for this decision and reverse course.”
“A wall does nothing to deter people who are fleeing poverty and violence from coming to the United States. Walls only serve to push migrants into more remote areas, increasing their chances of death. It is a cruel policy,” the congresswoman said.
Ocasio-Cortez has recently faced criticism from her constituents as illegal immigrants have overwhelmed New York City in the past year. Last month, the leftist lawmaker and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) were drowned out by protesters during a press conference after they toured a migrant shelter in New York City.
“Close the border, close the border. Respect the constitution, AOC. I am your constituent,” one protestor shouted, according to the New York Post.
Rep. @AOC (D-NY) addresses the migrant crisis in NYC as protesters outside a shelter for asylum-seekers shout “close the border!”:
“They are prevented from employment, and that is part of the strain on our public systems.” pic.twitter.com/eluAC4OHMT
— The Recount (@therecount) September 15, 2023
The Big Apple has housed and fed more than 117,000 migrants on taxpayer dollars since last year, and the city is expected to spend up to $5 billion dealing with the migrant crisis. New York City Democrat Mayor Eric Adams has repeatedly called for the Biden administration to take a stronger stand on border security and help his city handle the influx of illegal immigrants. Adams is currently on a trip to Latin America this week where he said he will personally meet with potential migrants to urge them not to come to New York City.
In her statement, Ocasio-Cortez said the Biden administration should focus on the “root of migration more seriously” and “invest in meaningful immigration reform.” The congresswoman’s position on the border crisis has been shared by the vast majority of Democrats, including the president who, shortly after his inauguration in January of 2021, stopped construction of the border wall.
As a presidential candidate in 2020, Biden criticized the border security policies of his opponent former President Donald Trump, and promised there would “not be another foot of wall constructed on my administration.” Biden condemned Trump’s construction of a wall along the southern border as a “misplaced priority” and a “failure to manage migration in a safe, orderly, and humane way.”
The president attempted to answer for his apparent shift in border policy by saying he tried to move the money already appropriated for border wall construction but ultimately could not.
“I tried to get them to reappropriate it, to redirect that money. They didn’t, they wouldn’t,” said Biden. “And in the meantime, there’s nothing under the law other than they have to use the money for what it was appropriated. I can’t stop that.”