Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York congresswoman and member of the Democratic Socialists of America, is intensifying her efforts to defend the Democratic Party and denounce left-wing opponents of the Biden administration.
On Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez held her monthly virtual town hall meeting for her constituents in New York’s 14th congressional district. In response to a question on immigration, she seized on the opportunity to cover up Biden’s ruthless anti-immigrant policies.
After making milquetoast criticisms of the treatment of immigrants, Ocasio-Cortez got to the main point: “I don’t want to draw false equivalence. What is happening here is not the same as what happened during the Trump administration.”
She continued, “[The Trump administration] took babies out of the arms of their mothers and deported their families and permanently traumatized these children, some of whom, we don’t know will ever be reunified with their families again which is a level of human rights violation that is just simply not the same [as Biden].”
She then denounced anyone who dares to make a comparison of Biden’s anti-immigrant policies with those of the Trump administration: “Anyone who is trying to do that is doing a profound disservice to the cause of justice. So I don’t want to excuse any of this… one is not the same and we cannot dust that under the rug.”
In an earlier interview with the DSA’s Democratic Left magazine, Ocasio-Cortez called left-wing opponents of the Biden administration “privileged” and “bad faith actors.” Now, she says that those who denounce its immigration policies are doing “a profound disservice to the cause of justice.”
There are a number of points that must be made in relation to Ocasio-Cortez’s latest statements.
First, what is happening to immigrants under the Biden administration, as happened under the Trump administration and Obama before him, is a crime against humanity. Ocasio-Cortez’s politically motivated insinuation that the same level of horrific trauma suffered by immigrant children under Trump is not taking place under Biden, is contemptuous.
During his tenure in office, Trump implemented his “Remain in Mexico” policy that forced immigrants seeking asylum in the US to stay in Mexican border towns until their cases are adjudicated, without adequate housing, food or services, and prey to widespread violence.
In March 2020, using the pandemic as the fraudulent pretext, his administration invoked the 1944 Public Health Service Act, known as Title 42, authorizing the president broad powers to turn away asylum seekers and children on public health grounds.
Since coming to office, the Biden administration, for certain tactical reasons, has reversed elements of Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. Also, under Biden’s policy, thousands of unaccompanied minors have been allowed into US detention facilities.
Accompanied minors on the other hand, that is, children arriving with their families or single parents, are “processed” at the border, held under horrific conditions, sent to El Paso and forced to walk across a bridge back into Mexico. The migrants are often not told what is happening and thus end up in Mexico, completely unaware of where they are and why.
Additionally, Vice President Kamala Harris has been tasked with an initiative to bribe and coerce the governments of Mexico and Central America to crack down on migrants traveling from and through their own countries, in order to prevent them from ever reaching the border.
The practical outcome of Biden’s “immigration reform” to the Trump-era policies is that many desperate families trapped in Mexico are trying to send children across the border by themselves, since they will be allowed in, even if they are detained in squalid facilities.
Footage was released by Customs and Border Patrol on Wednesday showing two toddlers being dropped over the border wall near El Paso, Texas, the night prior. The mother of the two girls resides in the US. Under Biden’s policy, migrants in Mexico, including children, are not given an opportunity to reunite with family members living in the US.
In a stark exposure of the continuity between Trump and Biden, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) data leaked to Axios in March revealed that the Biden administration is utilizing “Title 42” to deport migrants attempting to cross the US-Mexico border. By invoking Title 42, Biden has deported more Haitian immigrants in a single month than Trump did in an entire year.
As for the approximately 16,000 children being held in detention facilities, they are imprisoned in the same overrun and unregulated facilities that the Trump administration oversaw, and the Obama administration before him. In fact, Biden has even moved to reopen Trump-era detention facilities to accommodate the influx of children, including the Carrizo Springs Child Migration Detention Facility in Texas.
The facilities detaining children, such as Carrizo Springs, are operated by the same private firms as under Trump. The crowded tent camps set up by the previous Trump administration are now full to capacity. The number of children presently detained is 25 percent higher than at the peak of the Trump administration’s 2019 crackdown on immigrant children. The conditions, including images of children being held in cages which sparked mass outrage among workers across the US and around the world, remain the same.
The crimes against immigrants are widely despised in the working class, and the comments by Ocasio-Cortez have not fooled many of her supporters. It is not forgotten by anyone that Ocasio-Cortez ran her campaign largely focusing on opposition to the anti-immigration policies of Trump. In fact, right before her election she made the demand of “Abolish ICE” the centerpiece of her campaign. This slogan has been unceremoniously dropped.
As one commenter noted on Twitter, in a sea of outrage against Ocasio-Cortez’s video: “It’s the SAME agencies. SAME facilities. SAME excuses. The only thing that’s changed is who’s in charge.” Another tweeted, “Pathetic that even the most left-wing members of the party have done a complete 180 on the border cages despite the conditions not changing at all. GOP gone from defending the cages, to wanting to liberate the prisoners. Dems went from calling it disgusting to defending it.”
The World Socialist Web Site article on Ocasio-Cortez’s interview with Democratic Left denouncing socialist opponents of Biden was read by more than one hundred thousand workers and young people. It created a political crisis within the Democratic Party as it exposed the fraudulent pretenses of the main representative of the “left-wing” of the Democrats.
While the Democrats have sought to mobilize their operatives to defend Ocasio-Cortez, the congresswoman herself in everything she says is making clear that her main role is to defend the Democratic Party and the Biden administration at all costs.
Anyone who supported Ocasio-Cortez under the false assumption that she was an “outsider” seeking to challenge the Democratic Party establishment must draw the necessary conclusions. The “democratic socialism” of Ocasio-Cortez and her promoters in the DSA is, in fact, a mechanism employed by the ruling class and the Democratic Party to block a genuine socialist movement of workers and youth.