WASHINGTON – Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar held a press conference outside the Capitol on Thursday demanding Immigration and Customs Enforcement would not receive more funding.
“[Immigrants are] coming to our border asking for their human rights to be recognized to seek asylum,” said Omar, a Muslim immigrant from Somalia who won her House seat in November 2018. “And we are welcoming them to torture, detention, separation and more pain or heartache. So today, and every day until this nightmare ends, this stain of our country’s history ends, we say ‘not under our watch.’”
Omar also stated at the event — which was coordinated in part by liberal group MoveOn.org — that seeking asylum at a border is “the most legal thing anyone can do.”
The freshman congresswoman was joined by Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, all of whom repeated her calls to withhold funding to ICE because of alleged abuses to illegal immigrants. The congresswomen, along with a coalition of progressive organizations, collected around 200,000 signatures for a petition to reject additional funding for deportation agents or detention centers.
“[President Donald Trump] said and spoke of the idea that he likes, quote-unquote, legal immigration. But that is a lie,” Ocasio-Cortez said during the Thursday rally. “The president does not like any form of immigration. He has been cutting down and imposing restrictions on legal forms, on the diversity visa lottery, on family unification, and so on.”
In a perplexing moment, Ocasio-Cortez at one point said Latinos are descendants of native people, and therefore cannot be “criminalized” when attempting to enter the country illegally.
“We are standing on native land, and Latino people are descendants of native people. And we cannot be told and criminalized simply for our identity or our status. Period.”
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