Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) argued this week that President Donald Trump is targeting illegal immigrants during the coronavirus pandemic and making them afraid to go to the doctor if they have SARS-CoV-2 symptoms.
“He has been contributing to the health inequities by targeting communities like ours. He’s made people afraid to go to the doctor because they are concerned that ICE will pick them up in the E.R.,” Ocasio-Cortez said on ABC’s Nightline of Trump.
Ocasio-Cortez, who has been arguing that it is in the “selfish” interests of those who want to re-open the country to give illegal immigrants stimulus checks and health care so they do not infect others, also made the point that seeking health care often “becomes gambling” to low-income Americans are those without insurance.
“When you don’t have health insurance and you are scared to go to the doctor, your decisions around your own health become primarily financial decisions,” Ocasio-Cortez said. And it becomes gambling.”
She called for “system solutions to systemic inequalities” because “inequality” and “poverty” are “pre-existing conditions.”
“To me, an essential worker is any person in this country that is helping keep the lights on and helping us live day by day,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “The great irony of essential workers is that they have typically been underpaid, under-recognized and under-valued in our economy, and if there’s one thing that this crisis shows us it’s that our essential workers deserve so much more.”
The New York Democrat said she hopes the coronavirus pandemic can allow more Americans to wake up to all sorts of systemic and structural inequities.
“We all live in our own worlds and sometimes it’s hard to see experiences outside of our own, but I think one silver lining to this crisis is that people are now recognizing the inequities that have been here all along — people saying, ‘wow, I didn’t know it was this bad,’” Ocasio-Cortez said.