Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claimed on Wednesday that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is running “black sites” at the border.
During an interview on CNN’s “Newsroom” with Poppy Harlow, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez explained the difficultly that reporters and members of Congress have gaining access to some child-holding facilities, creating a “secretive nature” that justified the term. She said the agency has extrajudicial structure “baked in,” which allows them to “get away” with running these sites.
“When we know that children are being kept and that human-rights abuses are happening without any transparency or accountability — that is where we are at right now. That is simply what is happening,” she said.
Ms. Harlow noted that the facilities referenced are run by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez agreed that lawmakers “absolutely do need” to secure borders and ensure “people are safe in passage,” but that ICE should not be a part of that. She explained that when ICE was established in 2003, it was among actions in relation to the Patriot Act and the Iraq War.
“We look back at a lot of that time of legislation as a mistake now,” she said, “And I think that ICE is right there as a part of it.”
The young candidate, who won her Democratic primary race against establishment New York Rep. Joseph Crowley Tuesday night, strongly stands for abolishing the border-enforcement agency. Her win is seen as part of a larger shift to the left for the Democratic party.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez endorsed New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, who also called for ICE to be abolished. Ms. Nixon described the agency as a terrorist organization on June 22.
Wisconsin Democrat Rep. Mark Pocan announced on Monday that he would propose legislation to officially end ICE.