In an interview with Democracy Now! “Democratic Socialist” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez encouraged fellow leftists to “mobilize” in pursuit of their ideology, and expand “Occupy” efforts to include protests at border crossings, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency offices, and airports across the country.
Ocasio-Cortez abandoned her campaign just days before the election to join a celebrity-driven protest at the United States’s southern border, calling on President Donald Trump to bring an end to a policy that separated children from illegal immigrant parents who made claims of asylum, days after Trump ended the policy by executive order.
Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman demanded Ocasio-Cortez defend her decision, even though Goodman ultimately agreed with Ocasio-Cortez’s strategy.
“There is no convenient time” to “stand up against human rights violations,” Ocasio-Cortez answered, according to Newsweek.
“I may have had a primary three days after I went down there, but we’re not going to win if we don’t stand for everything,” Ocasio-Cortez added. “We have to show people that we’re willing to walk the walk and put our money where our mouth is.”
Asked how everyday Americans can pursue justice for illegal immigrants, Ocasio-Cortez encouraged progressives to have a “rapid response.”
“We have to occupy all of it,” she said. “We need to occupy every airport. We need to occupy every border. We need to occupy every ICE office until those kids are back with their parents, period.”
Ocasio-Cortez failed to note that it’s possible many of her supporters have day jobs that don’t permit them to occupy government offices and trespass on government property ad infinitum, of that Americans might not tolerate a protest that makes air travel less efficient for very long.
Those opposed to the plan, Ocasio-Cortez added, simply don’t understand what ICE does.
But, it turns out, neither does she.
“First of all, ICE is not [U.S. Customs and Border Protection],” she said. “When we talk about abolishing ICE, we’re talking about ending family detention. We’re talking about ending an agency and ending a practice and a structure that is not accountable to the U.S. Department of Justice, that often takes on things that look a lot like enforcement activities.
“So to have an enforcement agency that operates outside of the accountability of the Department of Justice, it’s no surprise to see the violations of civil and human rights that we’re seeing right now,” she continued.
In a sense, she’s correct, but only in that ICE reports to DHS instead of the DOJ directly. DHS, however, reports to the Department of Justice. ICE is an investigative arm of DHS, which means that it concerns itself mostly with cases of human trafficking and possible terrorism, and those cases might have something to do with a border or they might not. ICE also tackles the “enforcement and removal” of illegal persons found living within U.S. borders.
The Border Patrol actually enforces (or enforced) the family detention policy; ICE handles any eventual deportations. But “Occupy CBP” just doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
Democrats tried to bring a bill that would abolish ICE to the floor Monday, but Speaker of the House Paul Ryan refused to allow a vote.