New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez became incensed Monday night accusing the Republican Party of wanting to starve and imprison children in cages on the southern border.
Ocasio Cortez first took a swing at House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney:
“Well she’s the one who…with her initial tweet that made this jump directly to the death and extermination camps of the Holocaust and I think that was deliberate and that’s explicit is part of a pattern that you see in the Republican Party of immediately jumping and pulling out these moments to inflict maximum controversy. And I think it’s politically motivated,” Ocasio-Cortez said, referencing a tweet she made about the facilities being like “concentration camps.”
Ocasio-Cortez added, “I think it’s atrocious. It’s an atrocious practice and what she really needs to talk about and answer to and apologize for is why she supports caging kids starving them and denying them soap and toothpaste.”
Cheney and other members of the conference criticized the New York Democrat last week for making the comparison, setting off a back and forth between both sides over the political and historical interpretation of a concentration camp.
President Trump hit back at accusations that minors who arrive at the southern border started to be detained at border facilities during the during his administration, saying the practice happened during President Obama’s tenure.
“Obama built the cages,” Trump told Telemundo’s Jose Diaz Balart last week. “I didn’t build them. Obama built them.”
Ocasio-Cortez responded to Trump’s assertion saying, “I don’t care who did it, and this is why I say it’s not a partisan issue. Obama wasn’t great on immigration policy. I’m not here to defend it, but I’m also not here to say that we should do it because of this, that, and the other, first of all. Second of all, they’re conflating two separate things because when it comes to the violation of human rights, President Obama never separated kids from their parents. That is a violation. When you talk about caging families, that’s wrong. And I don’t care who did it. I don’t care if Obama did it. I don’t care if Trump is doing it, it’s wrong.”
She continued, “And just because we committed wrongs in the past is not a justification for continuing and perpetuating an injustice where kids and people are being starved that they’re being deprived of soap and additionally there is a qualitative difference from the assessing assessments that we’re getting from this administration. Doctors and physicians psychologists are actually implying and suggesting that there is an intent that there is a punishing intent to the depriving and the that the actual conditions of these facilities.”
Additionally, Ocasio-Cortez recounted a story to reporters she said she read in the New Yorker over the weekend that described a lice outbreak in a Customs Border Protection facility.
“They gave all the children two combs for all the kids with lice to share. And one of these kids lost their comb. And what was the response of CBP officials? They took away the blankets and sleeping mats of every child in this facility. That’s not due to a lack of resources. That is due to a desire an active desire by this administration to hurt kids.”
Democrats met Monday night to consider changes to the border funding supplemental bill and agreed to mandate Customs and Border Protection to establish health standards for children and adults in custody, including for nutrition and hygiene.
The caucus also called for the Department of Homeland Security to put forth a proposal to make sure that all migrants have access to translation services.
Democrats also want to restrict the time that unaccompanied minors are allowed to be at an arrival shelter unless the Department of Health and Human Services notifies Congress and says space is not available to confirm a transfer to a state-licensed facility.