During her first few days in Congress, socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voted to fund Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and then turned around and attacked President Donald Trump for supporting the same agency.
“The president should not be asking for more money to an agency that has systematically violated human rights,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Tuesday while talking about ICE. “The president should be really defending why we are funding such an agency at all because right now what we are seeing is death, right now what we are seeing is the violation of human rights.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s comments were confusing given the fact that she voted to fund ICE last week when she voted “aye” on a continuing resolution that funded the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which controls ICE.
As The Daily Caller noted, Ocasio-Cortez “appeared to forget that Congress — not the president — controls budget appropriations and determines which agencies continue to receive what funding.”
Full transcript of Ocasio-Cortez’s interview on Maddow provided via MSNBC:
Joining us now is Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. Congresswoman, thank you so much for being with us tonight. I`m really happy to have you here with us on the show.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK: Of course. Thank you for having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, let me start by getting your top line reaction to the
president`s speech tonight. You have never been a member of Congress while the government wasn`t shut down, so, obviously, this is a strange circumstance for you and your colleagues in the freshman class to be taking your first steps.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes, absolutely. I cannot tell you the amount of dysfunction that this president is advancing. We now have over 100 new members of the freshman class.
I cannot even get laptops to my caseworkers on the ground in the Bronx and Queens so they can process the needs of our constituents. We can`t mortgage – you know, we cannot get case work started because we can`t even get laptops in the hands of our district offices because the president has decided to hold the paychecks of everyday Americans hostage so that he can fulfill a campaign, I don`t even – I don`t even want to call it a promise, a campaign fantasy that the vast majority of Americans disapprove of. And not only that, but in the actual address, there was falsehood after falsehood, and we have to make sure that we get our facts straight. Every day, immigrants commit crimes at a far lower rate than native-born Americans. And not only that, but the women and children on that border that are trying to seek refuge and seek opportunity in the United States of America with nothing but the shirt on their backs are acting more American than any person who seeks to keep them out ever will be.
MADDOW: Are you at all dissuaded – not dissuaded, I guess it`s a wrong word. Dismayed or discouraged by the fact that the president has been saying the same untrue things about immigrant crime, about the terrible character of immigrants coming into this country, about a false relationship that he has invented between violent crime and immigration. We heard him tell falsehoods tonight contradicted even by his own administration about this flood – as he described it, a pipeline of drugs coming across the southern border, his own Drug Enforcement Administration has said that the vast majority of drugs, even those coming from the south of, from south from this country are coming through ports of entry and not over anything that would be stopped by a wall. Are you discouraged or what`s your sort of strategic take on the fact that the president has been telling the same lies for years now and not shying away from them at all?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I think it`s not unsurprising because even before he was elected president of the United States, he has proven track record of discrimination against anybody that`s really none white in the United States. He had been sued by the Nixon administration back in the day for not renting to black Americans. He has had controversy after controversy. So, this is very consistent. It`s not just the continued lies throughout his administration but frankly, it`s part of a very consistent pattern of his entire life. But I think it`s extremely important – you know, I represent New York`s 14th congressional. We are 50 percent immigration. I represent the Bronx and Queens, Jackson Heights, over 200 languages are spoken in my district alone. We enjoy some of the highest rates of economic activity and the Bronx itself has had some of the highest rates of economic growth in all of New York City and that has been directly, directly correlated with our embrace of immigrants. New York City overall is an immigrant city and we enjoy a very large amount of economic and cultural prosperity as a result.
MADDOW: The president has been singing this same song that he did a different version of tonight in the Oval Office, since the very, very start of his campaign. He has made anti-immigrant rhetoric and often factually incorrect screeds demonizing immigrants, more core to his presidency than any form of his rhetoric. And so, in your district, in a district as you say that is not just diverse but 50 percent immigrant and that you`re talking about the sort of economic relationship that you can see between immigrant economic activity and the overall performance of your district, what`s the consequence of having somebody as president who has made this core to his message and to what he wants his presidency to mean? What is the harm that`s caused by him talking this way and using this sort of platform the way he has even when he can`t get his policies passed?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: I can – I can tell you a very personal story. And as many people know, I was working in restaurants just a year ago. And when the president first assumed office with his – with his racist and violent rhetoric, people started to send themselves home. And as we know, in restaurants, hospitality, every American eats if you can, if you`re lucky enough or we`re able to eat three times a day. And that means we interact with the people who prepare our food three times a day. When those people start to go home, local or rather go back to their countries which they originated from because many of them consider the United States their home, those places, they go into dysfunction. I remember one of our lead cooks brought himself back to Mexico because he was so scared of the president`s rhetoric. We had an insane amount of dysfunction. We`re talking about local restaurants. We`re talking about local businesses. We`re talking about shuttering neighborhoods. And we`re talking about people feeling unsafe. And no one should feel unsafe in the United States of America. And that includes our amazing and beautiful and productive immigrant community. And moreover, the one thing the president has not talked about is the fact he has systematically engaged in the violation of international human rights borders on – human rights on our border. He has separated children from their families. He talked about what happened the day of Christmas on the day of Christmas, a child died in ICE custody. The president should not be asking for more money to an agency that has systematically violated human rights. The president should be really defending why we are funding such an agency at all because right now, what we are seeing is death. Right now, what we are seeing is the violation of human rights. These children and these families are being held in what are called hieleras, which are basically freezing boxes that no person should be maintained in. For any amount of time, let alone the amount of time they are being kept on, and more over, even if you are anti-immigrant in this country, the majority of immigrant overstays, the majority of the reason that people are undocumented is visa overstay. It`s not because people are crossing a border illegally. It is because of visa overstay which mind you, he`s talking about legal immigration, he`s trying to restrict every form of legal immigration there is in the United States. He`s fighting against family reunification. He`s fighting against the diversity visa lottery. He`s fighting against almost ever way that people can actually legally enter this country, forcing them to become undocumented, and then he`s trying to attack their undocumented status. This is systematic. It is wrong and it is anti-American. And again, those women and children trying to come here with nothing but the shirts on their back to create an opportunity and to provide for this nation are acting more in an American tradition than this president is right now.
MADDOW: Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, thank you so much for being with us tonight. I know this is your first time being here on the show and I know that you have been one of the highest profile members of this new Congress and you`ve got a lot of pressures on your time. Thanks for making time to be here and I hope you`ll come back.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Of course. Thank you so much.
In light of this information, is Ocasio-Cortez being hypocritical about illegal immigration?