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NEW YORK, NY – Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was extremely critical of the Biden Administration’s decision on Tuesday to re-open a Trump-era Texas migrant detention facility for holding children caught attempting to cross the U.S. border unaccompanied from Mexico.
The Carrizo Springs-based facility was initially utilized by the Trump Administration during the 2019 migrant crisis, a move that at the time was widely criticized. Reports indicate that the Biden Administration re-opened the facility this week to house 700 migrant teens, ages 13 to 17, due to the fact that other facilities had reached their limits due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her disapproval at the news, and renewed her calls for the abolishment of government agencies that enforce immigration, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay – no matter the administration or party,” she tweeted. “It’s only 2 mos into this admin & our fraught, unjust immigration system will not transform in that time. That’s why bold reimagination is so impt. DHS shouldn’t exist, agencies should be reorganized, ICE gotta go, ban for-profit detention, create climate refugee status & more.”
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In 2019, Biden reportedly pledged to lawmakers during a closed-door meeting that he would not hold migrant children in detention centers if he were to be elected president, leading many to condemn him for what they perceived as hypocrisy; this included conservative radio host Dana Loesch, who tweeted “Kids in cages is now ‘migrant facility for children.’” However, some are claiming that Biden’s new policy differs greatly from that of his predecessor.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended the decision to re-open the Texas facility, saying that it was merely a temporary move that was necessitated by the current health crisis.
“It’s a temporary reopening during COVID-19, our intention is very much to close it, but we want to make sure we can follow COVID protocols,” she said to The Hill. She also told Fox News that deporting the children is not the Biden Administration’s goal, saying “The process, how it works, is that Customs and Border control continue to transfer unaccompanied children to the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement.”