(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said in a podcast interview with The New Yorker Radio Hour last week that she’s open to getting rid of the Department of Homeland Security.
During the interview, which aired on July 7, Ocasio-Cortez was asked whether she would get rid of DHS.
“I think so,” she said. “I think we need to undo a lot of the egregious, a lot of the egregious mistakes that the Bush administration did.”
“I feel like we are, at a very, it’s a very qualified and supported position, at least in terms of evidence, and in terms of being able to make the argument that we never should of created DHS in the early 2000s,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“One of the things that you’ve been saying I think for quite now … is that ICE should be abolished. The answer to you often is, well why not reform ICE. The FBI and CIA came under tremendous fire for example in the 70s. There were the Church hearings held in the Senate under Frank Church. No one’s suggesting the FBI and the CIA are remotely perfect since then, but there were a lot of changes, and those institutions were—there’s not a country on earth that doesn’t have intelligence … good, bad, or indifferent. Why can’t that be done with ICE?” The New Yorker’s David Remnick asked.
“Because the core structure of ICE, I believe, and frankly, the entire department of Homeland Security. You know this was established by George Bush right in the wake of 9/11, right as the Patriot Act and all of these different institutions that were frankly very large threats to American civil liberties started to get established, and people sounded the alarm back then that these agencies are extra-judicial, that they lack effective oversight, and it is baked into the core foundational structure of these agencies,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“In the absence of a sane immigration policy, in the absence of a Democratic majority, what is the answer?” Remnick asked.
“So there’s a few. One is we have I think as a country a misunderstanding of the issue of immigration. We think of it as a standalone issue. It’s like asking what are you going to do about homelessness, but these are systemic issues,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“Once you’re at the point where you are mitigating what is happening at the border, you’re already dealing with the symptoms of a large amount of other U.S. policies. So for example, a large contributing factor to the surge on the border is the fact that President Trump withdrew U.S. humanitarian aid to Northern Triangle countries,” she said.
“The United States in my opinion, the United States has completely abdicated its responsibility and role in Latin America in that we are not acting like an equal partner or neighbor in the Western Hemisphere at all. We kind of just think of everything as just south of Mexico, and we treat it that way, and because of that, our largest interaction with Latin America is what happens at our border, and so, that’s how it manifests in our country,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“In addition to greater foreign aid to Central America and abolishing ICE, what else would constitute a sane immigration system if in fact, we’re not saying we don’t really need one. All we do is just let in anybody who wants to come, which you don’t seem to be saying at all. What constitutes a sane immigration policy?” Remnick asked.
Ocasio-Cortez said no one should be detained as part of an immigration policy if they have “harmed no one.”
“So I think one, a sane immigration policy we should not be using detention for people who have harmed no one. One of the things that I saw when I was at the border was needless bottlenecks, and this is where it really seemed very much so that the cruelty is the point. This is not a lack of resource issue whatsoever,” she said.
The congresswoman complained that there U.S. citizens who want to take in migrant families or children, but “there’s a lack of desire” to allow for that.
“There’s a lack of desire to allow refugees – and there were plenty of American citizens that are trying to step up to the plate, American citizens that are saying, we’ll take a family in, we’ll take children in. Most of these children that come to the border already have sponsors. They come with phone numbers, and they come with people in the country that are willing to take them in, and give them refuge, and we have a system that deliberately blocks those families from seeking and taking up Americans who want to give them refuge,” she said.