‘As we’ve seen there are arrivals and undocumented children – rather unaccompanied children that have come at the border and this had lead to completely inhuman and unacceptable, horrifying conditions of children in CBP [Customs and Border Protection] custody. And it’s unacceptable and it’s horrifying,’ the New York representative told constituents during the virtual event.
AOC didn’t go as far as to blame Biden for the crisis, claiming the president is working to fix the problem and instead blamed U.S. foreign policy for exacerbating bad situations in Central American countries from where migrants are fleeing.
‘I’ve been in contact with the Biden Administration personally. What is different is they’re trying to figure out,’ she said. ‘How to find the resources to end his problem.’
She also claimed that families who were separated during Trump’s presidency are ‘owed reparations Period.’
‘I don’t want to excuse any of this,’ she said of Biden’s policies. ‘We should be doing better by now.’
The congresswoman’s comments came the day after she was slammed for telling supporters during a lengthy Instagram live Tuesday night to stop calling the record number of migrants arriving at the border a ‘surge’, insisting it is not.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Wednesday that the conditions at border facilities under President Joe Biden are ‘horrifying,’ ‘barbaric’ and ‘unacceptable’
During a virtual town hall Wednesday evening, she said mass unaccompanied minor arrivals have ‘lead to completely inhuman and unacceptable, horrifying conditions of children in CBP custody. And it’s unacceptable and it’s horrifying’
Dentition and holding facilities at the southern border are overcrowded – some by more than 1,700% capacity
She said using that language places the crisis in a ‘militaristic frame’.
‘They wanna say, ‘But 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,’ AOC claimed.
‘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 another is coming in the population that this is an invasion of who we are,’ the congresswoman said.
Critics have labeled the comments ‘peak AOC’, and ridiculed her for not knowing the difference between the word ‘surge’ and ‘insurgent’.
The critique came after AOC told her Instagram following Tuesday using the word ‘surge’ to describe the border crisis is incorrect and puts it in a ‘militaristic frame’ – despite the number of illegal crossings reaching record numbers under Biden
Critics claimed AOC mixed up the meaning of the word ‘surge’ and ‘insurgent’
Overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, Guatemala migrants cross into the U.S. from the Rio Grande
In Biden’s first few month’s in office, the U.S. has seen the highest-ever numbers of illegal border crossers at the U.S.-Mexico border – particularly when it comes to unaccompanied minor migrants.
Biden put Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of the administration’s efforts to address the problem, as the White House still refuses to call it a ‘crisis.’
Harris, however, has still not visited the southern border or the overflowing facilities as senior officials have walked back on her role, claiming she is more focused on addressing ‘root causes’ in migrants’ home countries.
‘The fact that this keeps happening is a political failure of both parties,’ Ocasio-Cortez said during a question-and-answer portion of her town hall.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled a bill Tuesday that would create a $1 billion emergency fund for border crises, but the proposal requires the Department of Homeland Security to decide on specific metrics that would unlock the money.
The bill, proposed by Homeland Security Committee ranking member John Katko and border district Democrat Henry Cuellar, would prevent DHS from having to reallocate its own funds for food, transportation or clothing during migrant surges.
It’s rare that Democrats and Republicans agree on immigration, but there is bipartisan agreement that the situation at the southern border right now has reached a peak.
AOC’s critique of the border situation came after she was accused of giving Biden a pass during her Tuesday Instagram video but excoriating former President Donald Trump for his border and immigration policies that also resulted in issues at detention and holding facilities.
During 2019, Ocasio-Cortez visited facilities at the border and said the conditions under Trump were like ‘concentration camps.’
Biden’s border crisis is many times that of Trump’s.
The number of unaccompanied minors arriving at the border is at record levels as well, with children put into small pods at facilities where they sleep on the floor
Facilities were overcrowded, some by nearly 2,000% max capacity, and Customs and Border Protection projections last month showed numbers are expected to reach a record of 26,000 in September, which is more than double the record crossings under the last administration.
Approximately 16,000 minors crossed the southern border in March, a record high.
The influx of children is leading to a bottleneck at custody centers as agencies attempt to make additional accommodations with makeshift facilities along the border.
There were 5,767 children in Customs and Border Protection custody on Sunday, up from 5,495 children on Thursday, according to CBP data. In June 2019, when Donald Trump was president, the highest number of unaccompanied minors in custody was around 2,600, according to CBP data.
Additionally, there are 11,886 children in the custody of Health and Human Services.
Combining the HHS and CBP figures, the Biden administration has more than 17,500 children in custody.
Biden’s administration was also facing claims of transparency issues as they refused for weeks to allow journalists into detention facilities to report and capture images on the conditions.
On Tuesday, Biden finally allowed journalists inside its main border detention facility for migrant children.
The tour revealed a severely overcrowded tent structure in Donna, Texas, where more than 4,000 migrants – children and family unites – are crammed into pods.
The youngest are kept in a large, colorful playpen with mats on the floor for sleeping since the facility is flooding by more than 1,700% of its capacity and the dormitories are full.
Border guards say 14% – roughly one in seven – of the migrant children have tested positive for COVID while photos also show detainees being treated for lice, amid fears of an outbreak.