Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to dissolve the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Department of Homeland Security in a massive overhaul to the immigration system after it was revealed Joe Biden reopened facilities for housing unaccompanied minors arriving at the border.
‘It’s only 2 [months] into this admin & our fraught, unjust immigration system will not transform in that time,’ the New York progressive representative posted to Twitter Tuesday evening. ‘That’s why bold reimagination is so [important.]’
She asserted: ‘DHS shouldn’t exist, agencies should be reorganized, ICE gotta go, ban for-profit detention, create climate refugee status & more.’
The far-left congresswoman is also pushing a proposal by fellow Democratic Representative Pramila Jayapal demanding the U.S. let in refugees fleeing an area due to climate change – known as ‘climate refugees’.
AOC blasted the administration for reopening a temporary influx center for unaccompanied minors in Carrizo Springs, Texas and another shelter in Miami, Florida called Homestead.
‘This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay – no matter the administration or party, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Tuesday.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called Tuesday night for the abolishment of the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement
The New York congresswoman’s comments come amid news of Joe Biden’s administration reopening two facilities at the southern border to house unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border
The administration said it needed to reopen and expand its facilities because of complications in the immigration process due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ocasio-Cortez said, in that case, the facilities should need to be licensed and regulated more closely
She is also supporting a radical plan from fellow Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal demanding the U.S. accept all ‘climate refugees’ fleeing an area due to climate change
The Washington Post reported Monday that the emergency facility was being reactivated to hold up to 700 children ages 13 through 17.
The government said it needed to expand its facilities because of complications in the immigration process due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this month, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki warned now is not the time for refugees to flee to the U.S. border, claiming they would likely be turned away despite Biden’s promise to let in all refugees.
One way to address issues arising in these unprecedented times, Ocasio-Cortez proposed, is requiring facilities to obtain licenses and holding the government more accountable to making sure there is no infringement on human rights.
‘1 short term shift is requiring influx facilities w/ children to be licensed,’ the Democratic congresswoman tweeted. ‘Another issue is whether these services should be contracted out the way they are. And whether facilities w/ controversial records (ex. Homestead) should even be reopened.’
Homestead was famously the site where Democratic presidential candidates, including now Vice President Kamala Harris, protested outside of when they were gathered in Miami for the first presidential primary debate there in June 2019.
‘Sometimes I see people respond to our current immigration policy with ‘Well, what else can we do?’ There’s a lot we can do,’ Ocasio-Cortez claimed in her thead of tweets Tuesday.
‘To start, @RepJayapal has led on the Roadmap to Freedom, a framework for urgently needed changes to US immigration policy,’ she continued, linking to the Washington Democrat’s 8-page immigration overhaul plan.
Officials told The Post that the capacities of the reopened facilities had been cut in half because of the space needed to adhere to proper social distancing protocols.
AOC slammed Biden for reopening two facilities used during Trump’s administration. She shared a Washington Post article Tuesday reporting the opening, which government officials explained was a temporary fix for dealing with overcrowding during the COVID-19 pandemic
The Carrizo Springs, Texas facility will hold up to 700 children ages 13 through 17 to allow proper social distancing among the Health and Human Services accommodations for unaccompanied minors
Additionally, in January, the number of unaccompanied children coming over the border was higher than 5,700, a high watermark in recent years.
AOC’s voice joined a chorus of immigration lawyers and advocates who are questioning why the government would reopen controversial camps, which have been criticized for their conditions in the past.
Mark Weber, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, which runs these facilities, told The Post that putting children in permanent facilities is preferred, but because of the pandemic some will have to stay in like influx shelters, like Carrizo and Homestead.
He expects that Carrizo will close once the pandemic ends.
He also explained that the facilities’ reputations were tarnished during the Trump years because people associated them with the cramped detention centers run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The Biden administration will also be reopening the Homestead shelter, which now Vice President Kamala Harris (pictured in 2019) protested outside when the Democratic primary candidates were gathered in Miami for the first presidential debate in June 2019
Harris is pictured alongside Sen Kirsten Gillibrand as they observed youths incarcerated at a dentition facility near Miami in Homestead, Florida, on June 28, 2019
The Homestead Branch held around 2,300 children from the ages of 13 to 17, who were placed in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services after being detained at the border
Weber also argued that children in HHS’ care were treated well in both the Trump and Biden administrations.
However, he also explained that the Biden administration is moving away from the ‘law-enforcement focused’ approach of Trump, and will make child welfare central.
AOC, who shared the Washington Post story on her Twitter feed, still objected to the Democratic administration’s move.
‘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. They require reimagining our relationship to each other and challenging common assumptions we take for granted,’ the New York progressive said.
Biden has made some moves on immigration, including releasing a plan that includes a pathway to citizenship.
He also signed an executive order ordering the Department of Justice to not renew for-profit prison contracts.
He hasn’t, yet, made a similar move in regards to immigration facilities.