Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday slammed the version of an emergency border aid bill that passed the House Thursday, railing against what she called the lack of humanitarian provisions in the bill.
Ocasio-Cortez, who voted against a different border aid bill earlier in the week as well, said she opposes giving any more money to agencies who are enforcing President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, namely Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“I do not believe we should be throwing more money to ICE,” Ocasio-Cortez told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead.” “My district is 50% immigrant. I have an obligation and responsibility to protect them. I believe what we should ideally be doing is passing a pure humanitarian bill to get money straight to the kids.”
“We need to make sure these kids are protected as well as making sure we having their resources funded,” she added.
Ocasio-Cortez was one of only four House Democrats to vote against the House version of the bill Tuesday that passed 230-195 to approve $4.5 billion in aid for the growing crisis at the US southern border. She later voted against the Senate bill, which the House passed by a vote of 305-102.
When pressed on her opposition to both the House and Senate versions of the bill, Ocasio-Cortez again called for a “pure humanitarian bill.”
“I think a pure humanitarian bill could pass,” she said. “I do not believe that Republican voters are interested back home in preventing kids from getting toothbrushes and toothpaste.”
Ocasio-Cortez caused controversy earlier this month when she compared migrant detention facilities to concentration camps.
“The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are – they are concentration camps,” she said in an Instagram live video. “And if that doesn’t bother you … I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that we should not, that ‘never again’ means something.”
Ocasio-Cortez told Tapper on Thursday that her constituents in the Queens and Bronx boroughs of New York have “rallied around” her comparison, adding that the conversation she sparked is “an opportunity for us to talk about how we learn from our history in order to prevent it from ever happening in any form at any step.”
When asked if she used the term “concentration camps” in reference to immigration detention centers under President Barack Obama, Ocasio-Cortez said she worked at a restaurant at the time, but called the US approach to immigration “a remarkably consistent position.”
“I’m here to speak truth to power. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong,” she said. “I frankly don’t care what president does it.”