Freshman Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) held a press conference calling for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be defunded on Thursday.
From claiming that new immigrants are tortured when the enter the United States to calling for all deportations to be stopped, here are five of the most outrageous moments from their speech.
Watch their full remarks below:
— MoveOn (@MoveOn) February 7, 2019
Using DACA as evidence Trump doesn’t support legal immigration (5:10).
Ocasio-Cortez delivered a fiery speech in which she spoke out against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. She noted that Trump made a statement of support for legal immigrants during his State of the Union address, but the congresswoman wasn’t buying it.
She said the president has proved that he is against legal immigration. Ocasio-Cortez pointed to several of Trump’s policies that she believes prove that, including cutbacks on the Diversity Visa lottery. However, she also used Trump’s actions against Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as an example of Trump being against legal immigration.
“The president does not like any form of immigration. He has been cutting down and imposing restrictions on legal forms on the Diversity Visa lottery, on family reunification, and so on. He’s ending (Temporary Protective Status) TPS. He’s ending DACA protections for ‘Dreamers,’ and in doing so, he is taking away the documented status of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Americans.”
The problem with Ocasio-Cortez’s claim is that DACA recipients were in the country illegally. The only reason they were granted documented status was because of an executive order by former President Barack Obama. DACA is not a means of legal immigration.
ICE doesn’t deserve funding (6:40).
Under the Department of Homeland Security, ICE’s role is to enforce the U.S. immigration laws as written by Congress and enforced by the executive branch. While the focus of the Democrats’ press conference was to talk about ICE’s role in deportations, the agency is also responsible for investigating terrorism, stopping international crime like human trafficking, and preventing other countries from stealing intellectual property.
Despite those important duties, Ocasio-Cortez told the crowd that the agency doesn’t deserve a dime:
“We’re here to say that an agency, like ICE, which repeatedly and systematically violates human rights, does not deserve a dime. They do not deserve a dime until they can prove that they are honoring human rights.”
Stop all deportations (9:26).
Despite these deportations that protect Americans and ensure that justice is served to monsters like Palij, Ocasio-Cortez called for ICE to stop all deportations.
“I will not make a political compromise so that just a few kids less die. I will not make a compromise so that we unjustly deport just a few less. No. We will stop these practices altogether, and we will not stop until they are ceased and fully held accountable.”
Immigrants are “detained and tortured” when they enter the U.S. (12:27).
As IJR Blue reports, Omar is a proud Somali refugee, and as such, she has a distinct point of view on what it means to immigrate to the United States. However, she made some outlandish claims about the process of entering the United States during the press conference, even accusing immigration officials of torture:
“I remember what [leaving for America] felt like, but the difference between what is happening to some of these little girls and me is that I didn’t have a cage waiting for me. […] And in this country, in the United States, people are not welcomed [with open arms]. They are separated and processed, they are detained and tortured, and we can’t continue to allow that to happen.”
Trump doesn’t understand the asylum process (16:45).
During her speech, Omar claimed that Trump doesn’t understand those applying for asylum at the border, but Omar may be the one with the facts confused.
She claimed that asylum is the “most legal thing” a person can do, but as the president has noted, there has been a 1,700 percent increase in the number of invalid asylum claims in the U.S. over the past 10 years as people try to enter the U.S. for economic reasons rather than “credible fear” of staying in their home country.
“He also seems to never really understand what it means to seek asylum,” Omar said. “Seeking asylum at a border is the most legal thing anyone can do.”
Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.