Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has enthusiasm and momentum with her meteoric rise in Democratic politics. Her win over Rep. Joe Crowley provided Democrats with their own Eric Cantor moment. Ocasio-Cortez, an anti-Immigration and Customs Enforcement democratic socialist, plans to raise hell when she’s elected to Congress; this is deep blue New York, folks. She’s going to win. But the future of the Democratic Party has more than just a geographic ceiling. Her agenda is not popular outside of Queens, and outright poison to Middle America. Yet, let’s get back to ICE for a second. Scores of House Democrats—133 of them—voted “present” in a measure honoring the men and women who work for this federal law enforcement agency. Thirty-four voted against it. Abolishing ICE is rapidly becoming a litmus test for Democratic candidates, which torpedoes a rather effective narrative they’ve drummed up over child separations at the border. This push from the far left pivots the debate from that to security, which the GOP will win. They’ve already won it. Support for abolishing ICE doesn’t even break 30 percent approval. Still, Ocasio-Cortez outlined her position on ICE, speaking on the left wing program Democracy Now! In this interview, she seems to be implying that the Department of Justice should take more of a role on immigration (via Newsweek):
"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 said.
The politician said Americans who want to see ICE abolished have to "have a rapid response."
"We have to occupy all of it," she said. "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."
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."
Ocasio-Cortez said that the movement to abolish ICE also represents "an implicit rejection of the current administration's policies," including its family separation policy.
Wait—so Ocasio-Cortez wants to involve Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who made his name being a hardliner on immigration in the U.S. Senate, more on this subject? It appears that way, as evidence by her Twitter thread on ICE in May, where she said the now-defunct Immigration and Nationalization Services used to forward crimes to the DOJ, which should be done now.
About 10 years ago I worked in Ted Kennedy’s foreign affairs/immigration constituent office.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) May 26, 2018
I REGULARLY fielded calls from panicked mothers who came home to missing family members.
ICE was created in 2003 along w/ the Patriot Act. It was a weapon waiting for a tyrant.
Folks are also talking about how this isn’t just Trump.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) May 26, 2018
That is true, and not new to folks familiar with US immigration. Obama deported more people than his three presidential predecessors *combined.*
But now we are seeing exactly how ICE was designed without accountability. /2
Like warrantless wiretapping, the extrajudicial and unaccountable nature of ICE is essentially built as a maiden in waiting for authoritarian abuse of power.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) May 26, 2018
In fact, the folks who panic about the idea of #abolishICE seem to forget that we had a system before it: the INS.
The INS forwarded crimes to the Department of Justice.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) May 26, 2018
That is exactly how it should be done.
Immigration should primarily be seen through two lenses (arguably 1-2 others):
1. Foreign policy
2. Criminal justice
1. Immigration as foreign policy— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) May 26, 2018
Families do not all come to the US because they spontaneously “feel like it.” They also come because of global trade deals that destabilize local economies, or military interventionism, or regime changes at home.
Whenever we as US citizens agree w/ military actions like weapons deals & air strikes, or when we hop on board with trade deals like NAFTA or the TPP, we should ask ourselves:— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) May 26, 2018
“Are we prepared to deal with the people who will seek refuge in the US due to our actions?”
2. Immigration as Criminal Justice— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) May 26, 2018
If a person commits a crime, they should go through due process as outlined in our Constitution. Period.
That’s how it was until 2003. ICE changed all of that, and created an extrajudicial black-box system that has deported >10k US citizens(!)
Here’s what must be done:— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) May 26, 2018
We must #abolishICE. It’s very structure is about as undemocratic and authoritarian as it gets in the US.
We have to replace ICE with an updated INS-like structure that handles crime through the same court system we’ve had for well over 100 years. /8
She’s also stepped on a rake with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which she proved herself to be clueless. She supported a two-state solution last Friday, only to backtrack three days later (via Free Beacon):
…During a Friday interview on PBS' "Firing Line" Friday, Ocasio-Cortez gave a more nuanced answer when asked her views on the Jewish state. "Well, I believe absolutely in Israel’s right to exist. I am a proponent of a two-state solution. And for me, it’s not — this is not a referendum on the state of Israel," she said.
Ocasio-Cortez walked back her use of the terms "massacre" and "occupation." "I am not the expert on geopolitics on this issue," she laughed. "I am a firm believer in finding a two-state solution on this issue, and I'm happy to sit down with leaders on both of these…"
But when Ocasio-Cortez interviewed with the left-wing Democracy Now! on Monday, she was singing a different tune, now declining to say she supported the two-state solution.
"Are you still for a two-state solution with Israel and Palestine?" asked host Amy Goodman.
"You know, I think this is a conversation that I'm engaging with with activists right now," she responded. "Because this is a huge– especially over this weekend. This is a conversation that I'm sitting down with lots of activists in this movement on, and I'm looking forward to engaging in this conversation."
She thinks unemployment is low due to everyone working two jobs. Uh, wrong (via Reason):
First, people working multiple jobs has no distorting effect on the unemployment rate, which is calculated by taking the number of unemployed people and dividing it by the number of people in the labor force. The raw number of jobs being worked by Americans has no bearing on these numbers.
Second, everyone does not have two jobs. As Bloomberg View's Noah Smith points out, only about 5 percent of workers are moonlighting. This rate has actually dropped slightly over the last three decades.
Ocasio-Cortez continued: "Unemployment is low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week, and can barely feed their kids." Again, the number of overtime hours Americans are working has no impact on the unemployment rate.
CNN’s Chris Cillizza noted that perhaps the Democrats should “slow their roll” on pushing the Cortez stock…because it’s awfully shoddy, as it is with all socialist projects. Still, the notion that she wants the DOJ to be more involved in immigration policy with Sessions at the helm is just interesting. Did she inadvertently step on the rake again? Maybe.