Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) accused President Trump of trying to create a “surge of migrants” to the U.S. southern border so that he could shut it down, according to an interview she gave on Yahoo News’s “Skullduggery” podcast on Sunday.
The congresswoman first denied there was a surge of migrants to the U.S. southern border over the last several months, and then she accused Trump of purposely trying to create a crisis in Central America in order to “force a surge.”
“A border wall is racist is because it is based on a racial mythology that has no evidence to back up on it. You know, Donald Trump says, there is already a crisis at our border. DHS just issued an assessment in November of last year, saying that they couldn’t even increase the threat level at the border because there’s nothing to facilitate that,” she said.
“So instead what Donald Trump is doing is that he’s stripping all humanitarian aid from Central American countries to create a crisis to force a surge of migrants to come to our southern borders so that he can have his shutdown,” she said.
When one of the podcast hosts challenged her claim of no evidence of a crisis and cited growing numbers over the last several months, asking her what she would do in response, she did not give a clear answer.
The host asked:
But Congresswoman, there is a sharp increase in the number of migrants coming from Central America to the southern border. Just in the last few months it was 47,000. In January it jumped to 66,000. In February, 92,000. In March I’m expecting well over 100,000. There are a lot of people coming, and I guess the question is, what are your views on how that should be handled?
Ocasio-Cortez blamed several “causes,” but did not say what she would do about the surge in migration:
Well, I think one of our issues is that we are always struggling to treat symptoms, because we don’t have the political courage to treat the causes, so we don’t want to acknowledge our interventionist policies, we don’t want to acknowledge sometimes unfair provisions that are slipped into trade agreements, we — you know, like I just mentioned we are now moving to rescind a very large amount of humanitarian aid that often times helps stabilize regions and prevents those migrations from happening in the first place.
So now we’re going — this president in particular is creating and aggravating additional crises to create those surges on our border. You know there is argument over whether we did or did not have a role in regime change in Honduras, and so like there are these conversations that people are happening but what’s happening is our foreign policy, our trade policies, our economic policies, sometimes we don’t always consider the secondary effects when it comes to migration.
When pressed on whether she agreed with Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) recent comments that he did not support open borders, she said she agreed with his comments on their “face,” but said the U.S. needed to accept more migrants.
“We definitely need to accept more, even if just economically speaking. We’re having hospitality…even if you take corporate lobbyist money, the hospitality lobby right now is lobbying to increase, just lobbied to increase…there’s a lot of jobs that are going unfilled,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez also said she still supported abolishing ICE but could not say whether she would support replacing it with another immigration enforcement agency. She said one of theb main contentions was that it answered to the Department of Homeland Security, and not the Department of Justice.
An Emerson poll published Monday showed that 47 percent of registered voters supported building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, with 45 percent opposing. Eight percent are undecided.