New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called for progressive protesters to expand their nation-wide physical blockade of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) buildings.
The Democratic Socialist now wants the "resistance" to occupy border crossings and airports as part of their ongoing protests over the Trump administration's "Zero Tolerance" policy of enforcing existing immigration laws, which most notably resulted in the separation of nearly 3,000 migrant children from their families. While this also happened under former Presidents Obama and Bush, Trump's tough stance on border security has led to more of such cases.
Watch (comments begin just after the 52-minute mark):
"We have to occupy all of it," said Ocasio-Cortez during a Monday interview with Democracy Now's Amy Goodman. "We need to occupy every airport. We need to occupy every border. We need to occupy every ICE office until those kids are back with their parents, period."
"There is no convenient time" to "stand up against human rights violations," said the Democratic Socialist.
"I may have had a primary three days after I went down there, but we're not going to win if we don't stand for everything," Ocasio-Cortez said. "We have to show people that we're willing to walk the walk and put our money where our mouth is," she said.
"Our nation is in a moral crisis," she added. "Every day that we allow the continued violation of those children's rights is the day that I believe the moral character of the United States is at stake."
Ocasio-Cortez then suggested that those who are opposed to the "Abolish ICE" campaign don't understand ICE's role within the US Immigration system.
"First of all, ICE is not [U.S. Customs and Border Protection,]" she said. "When we talk about abolishing ICE, we're talking about ending family detention. We're talking about ending an agency and ending a practice and a structure that is not accountable to the U.S. Department of Justice, that often takes on things that look a lot like enforcement activities," she said.
"So to have an enforcement agency that operates outside of the accountability of the Department of Justice, it's no surprise to see the violations of civil and human rights that we're seeing right now."
The Democratic Socialist said that the movement to abolish ICE is "an implicit rejection of the current administration's policies."
On Monday, Ocasio-Cortez's passionate plea was silence by House GOP leaders, after they quashed a contentious floor vote on a Democratic measure to abolish ICE. Instead - they are voting Wednesday to support the agency.
The House is about to vote on a resolution by @RepClayHiggins expressing support for ICE agents and condemning calls to “abolish” ICE. GOP leaders, including @stevescalise, are seeking to paint Democrats as weak on immigration and for “open borders.” https://t.co/WVHB75KCU0— Bryn Stole (@brynstole) July 18, 2018