Several new progressive members of the U.S. House made emotional appeals to defund Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during a Thursday morning press conference organized by MoveOn.
Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14), Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-13) spoke at the press conference behind a podium with a banner of: “Defund the deportation force.”
“Earlier this week we were here and we were hearing inside that Capitol the State of the Union. The president said something. He said and spoke of the idea that he likes quote-unquote legal immigration. But that is a lie. The president does not like any form of immigration,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“Now he is asking for $5 billion to continue to militarize and weaponize a force that has zero accountability, whose director and whose secretary has no idea when she goes in front of a hearing how many children are dying in her own care, under her own watch, and they have the audacity to ask for more money to fund that. I don’t think so,” she continued.
She went on to say that ICE “does not deserve a dime” because it “repeatedly and systematically violates human rights.”
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) February 7, 2019
Tlaib agreed that ICE shouldn’t be funded while it is “demonizing and criminalizing our immigrant neighbors,” and choked back tears while discussing the plight of some immigrants in attendance.
“Not on our watch. As mothers, we will not allow children to die while we are in power here,” she said. “We will not vote for any more DHS funding that hurts our children, hurts our immigrant neighbors.”
So powerful! pic.twitter.com/y9tGs2bQ92
— José Alonso Muñoz (@munozjose) February 7, 2019
Omar echoed her colleagues’ sentiments and said she wouldn’t support giving another dollar to ICE or Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).
“I cry every time I see a little girl standing in the desert waiting to get processed into this country because I remember what that felt like. But the difference between what is happening to some of these little girls and me is that I didn’t have a cage waiting for me. I had an open arm. People with moral clarity awaiting us and saying, ‘you’ve been through a lot. Here is your new home. You’re our new neighbor,’” Omar said.
I too came to this country as a refugee.
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) February 7, 2019
“And in this country, in the United States, people are not welcomed that way,” she added. “They are separated unprocessed, they are detained and tortured, and we can’t continue to allow that to happen.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Ilhan Omar” by Ilhan Omar. Photo “Rashida Tlaib” by Rashida Tlaib. Background Photo “Ilhan Omar Press Conference” by Ilhan Omar. Background Photo “Rashida Tlaib Press Conference” by Jose Alonso Munoz. Background Photo “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Press Conference” by NowThis.