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AOC on Border: Not a 'Border Crisis,' but an 'Imperialism, Climate Change, Trade, & Carceral Crisis'

In 2019, photographs of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez posing outside of a Texas town on the U.S.-Mexico border emerged in which the congresswoman appeared to be crying outside of a detention facility. Observers quickly noted that the photographs only showed the congresswoman crying, without clearly indicating what she was looking at -- and, after other photographs came to light, it appeared there wasn’t much in front of her.

“It was the moment I saw with my own eyes that the America I love was becoming a nation that steals refugee children from their parents,& caged them,” Ocasio-Cortez said, retweeting images of her standing in front of a chain-link fence with a pained look on her face.

Photographs taken by, photojournalist Ivan Pierre Aguirre on June 24, 2018, event in Tornillo, Texas.

On March 30th, NY-14 Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Instagram live to answer questions regarding transgender youth, her physical health, and immigration. Among these questions, she gave the most extended response to “Why are you not addressing the border crisis and the kids in cages like you used to?

“Are you for real? Let’s talk about this. Because so much of our national “conversation”, which is not a conversation, is driven by people who could not care less about immigrants… We’re talking about it. They just don’t like how we’re talking about it because it’s not a border crisis. It’s an imperialism crisis. It’s a climate change crisis. It’s a trade crisis, and also, it’s a carceral crisis,” she responded.

Ocasio-Cortez went on to say, “Those are some of the problems. What about the solution? Well, number one- our solutions need to be rooted in foreign policy because our interventionist history in foreign policy in history over decades of destabilizing regions drives people to migrate. But people don’t want to have that conversation. Secondly, let’s talk about the climate crisis. Because the U.S. has disproportionally contributed to the total amount of emissions that is causing a planetary climate crisis right now, but who is bearing the brunt of that? It’s actually not us. We help create the problem, but disproportionately, it’s the global south, it’s South Asia, it’s Latin America that is going to be experiencing the floods, wildfires, and droughts in a disproportionate way which, ding ding ding, has already started a migration crisis. But people don’t wanna have that conversation."

Ocasio-Cortez-Cortez followed up with, “We have the issues of trade, which economically contribute… can’t have contributions to some of these conditions that add fuel to the fire, but people don’t wanna have that conversation. They wanna say, “What about the surge?” Well, first of all, just gut check, stop. Anyone who’s using the term surge around you consciously is trying to invoke a militaristic frame, and that’s a problem because this is not a surge. These are children, and they are not insurgents, and we are not being invaded, which, by the way, is a white supremacist idea/philosophy. The idea that if an “other” is coming in the population, that this is like an invasion of who we are.”

The congresswoman closed the live chat with, “If you do wanna zero in on the conditions of this moment because we don’t wanna deal with the contributions we made to helping create this moment, but we’ll now just wanna deal with the last-minute symptoms of it, you can look at our carceral system and (see) that this is what black and abolitionist organizers have already been talking about for a long time.”

The congresswoman’s live feed was shared on her Instagram story just days after senator Ted Cruz, and several of his senate colleagues went to the border to see the crisis firsthand. Ted Cruz has since sent a formal letter to the White House criticizing their lack of transparency because they refused to let the press enter the detainment centers and deny the illegal immigration issue at hand.

He wrote, “(Reporters) could not show the American people what it looks like when a tent city built to house 250 children under COVID restrictions instead houses 4,200. They could not show the American people cages after cages of little boys lying side-by-side, of little girls lying side-by-side, covered with reflective emergency blankets with virtually no space between them.”

This week, former President Donald Trump had also announced that he intended to visit the border soon.

Photograph from US Custom and Border Patrol March 2021

Footage from independent journalist Jorge Ventura captures children as young as seven years old being sent to the border. Ventura also captured video footage of Honduran immigrants thanking President Biden for his support. A Honduran woman can be heard saying, “We are so grateful (to President Biden) from the bottom of our hearts.” Ventura later shared more of what he had documented on a FOX news appearance.

President Biden, of course, served as V.P. during the administration that deported more than 3 million illegal immigrants, more than any other administration in U.S history. However, to quote Biden during his first Democratic debate, “I would, in fact, make sure that there is, we immediately surge to the border, all those people seeking asylum they deserve to be heard.”

Approximately one week ago, the President of Mexico criticized President Biden in his recent “surge” of immigrants. Despite this, the Biden administration is responsible for the most amount of immigrant detainments since 2006. It’s estimated that it will only increase, as a migrant child detention site was recently found to have been operating at over 1700% capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other recent tragic cases involve a 6-month old baby found in the river, a 20% jump in migrant deaths, stories of people being abandoned in dangerous conditions by their smugglers, increasing numbers of dangerous felons, and sex-offenders appearing at the U.S. border, and more.

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About the Author:

Bean Dashnea is currently a student of foreign language and political science. She has lived between the U.S. and Europe for nearly 14 years but considers Texas home. After Bean changed her party registration from Democrat to Republican circa 2018, she immediately recognized the public discourse shift. She knew she was caught in the war on culture and information. Bean currently works with local Republican chapters and primarily advocates for smaller government and geopolitical awareness.

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