Ocasio-Cortez Accuses ICE of Systematically Violating 'Human Rights,' Causing 'Death'

January 9, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) blasted Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Tuesday night, saying the agency has "systematically violated human rights" and caused "death."

Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old democratic socialist who was sworn into Congress last week, appeared on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show" following President Donald Trump's primetime address to the nation from the Oval Office. During the interview, Maddow asked Ocasio-Cortez to respond to his speech, prompting her to castigate Trump for requesting funding for ICE, an agency she has said should be abolished.

"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," Ocasio-Cortez said.

She argued that the primary reason for undocumented immigrants in the United States is "Visa overstay" versus people crossing over the border illegally. She then went on to accuse Trump of trying to restrict "every form of legal immigration there is in the United States."

This is not the first time that Ocasio-Cortez has attacked ICE. Last May, she tweeted that Congress must "abolish ICE."

"We must #abolishICE. It’s very structure is about as undemocratic and authoritarian as it gets in the US," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "We have to replace ICE with an updated INS-like structure that handles crime through the same court system we’ve had for well over 100 years."

Other Democrats, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), have also called for ICE to be abolished.

"I believe we need to protect families who need help, and ICE isn’t doing that. It has become a deportation force. We need to separate immigration issues from criminal justice. We need to abolish ICE, start over and build something that actually works," Gillibrand tweeted in June.