Firebrand progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has long called for an overhaul of the United States' current immigration policy, especially for the abolishment of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a relatively new division of the Department of Homeland Security, with a history of human rights abuses.
In a recent Twitter thread, Ocasio-Cortez—known colloquially as "AOC"—called out both political parties for the continued emphasis on carceral systems of immigration policy and for its characterization of what many say is a crisis at the southern border.
Her words came in response to a wave of Republican attacks on overcrowded border facilities, which they've presented as President Joe Biden's border crisis. Republican lawmakers recently took a trip to the southern border, where they claimed to see the crisis with their own eyes and blasted the inhumane conditions at border facilities.
"A politician's strength isn't based on a trip. It's based on their policy and voting RECORD.
And the fact is a LOT of Ted Cruz types who are now going down to meet refugee children in boats outfitted w/ machine guns are the ones who helped create this problem in the first place."
The overcrowding of border facilities has been a concern for more than a decade, especially after former President Donald Trump instructed his Justice Department to try border crossings as criminal offenses requiring arrest and detainment, a diversion from the prior administration, which tried first time border crossings as civil offenses.
When the unsanitary conditions got national attention during the Trump administration, Republican lawmakers largely dismissed them, as did right-wing media figures like Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who described them as "essentially summer camps." Ocasio-Cortez faced intense backlash for describing the facilities as "concentration camps."
After the Congresswoman called out "Ted Cruz types" for suddenly emphasizing the humanitarian crisis at a politically beneficial time, Senator Cruz (R-TX) tried to use her words against her.
.@AOC explains the real Dem position: abolish ICE. Full open borders. Which would make the #BidenBorderCrisis even… https://t.co/qF9IDSHkkW— Ted Cruz (@Ted Cruz) 1617293594.0
But Ocasio-Cortez, known in part for her social media savvy, was quick to issue a retort.
Ted, this is pretty rich coming from someone who fled their own home (and responsibilities) during an environmental… https://t.co/MdqT1rUnkU— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) 1617294427.0
The Congresswoman was alluding to Cruz's action during the winter storm that decimated his state of Texas earlier this year. As millions, including Cruz himself, suffered power losses in the face of frigid temperatures, Cruz and his family traveled to Cancún, Mexico for a sunny getaway.
Cruz was lambasted for abandoning his constituents during a time of crisis. Meanwhile, Ocasio-Cortez raised millions of dollars in Texas relief efforts and traveled to the state with several of its representatives to help with aid on the ground.
Ocasio-Cortez also invoked Cruz's amplification of Republican lies about the 2020 election—lies which prompted supporters of former President Donald Trump to storm the United States Capitol in hopes of overturning the results.
AOC, who said she feared for her life during the failed insurrection, has repeatedly called for Cruz's resignation in the weeks since—and did so again in her response to his smear.
Once again, a Republican lawmaker learned not to come for Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter.
She is so much better at this than they are 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼 https://t.co/SGZe6mKYg4— No Dem Left Behind (@No Dem Left Behind) 1617294483.0
One of my favorite things on this website is when AOC stuffs Ted Cruz in a locker https://t.co/926vdkZs9m— Wu-Tang Is For The Children (@Wu-Tang Is For The Children) 1617295735.0
AOC owns @tedcruz regularly on this app https://t.co/oJMrhdrj5s— henry mcmaster hate account (@henry mcmaster hate account) 1617300923.0
As always, I'm here for AOC roasting Ted Cruz. https://t.co/FUPXCz4P8v— Scott Mcg (@Scott Mcg) 1617294824.0
It’s a slaughter every time they get into it idk why teddy tries anymore https://t.co/egx6po8Bl7— Griff (@Griff) 1617303972.0
Update: Ted Cruz is now fleeing to Mexico again to escape this horrifying burn. https://t.co/Q8Bg4hK0Ah— Mike I Guess 🗡 (@Mike I Guess 🗡) 1617299417.0
Cruz dismissed Ocasio-Cortez's response as "ad-hominem attacks" without substance, but she was far from the only one to skewer his original tweet.
1. ICE isn't responsible for the Border. 2. Reagan advocated for open borders—Dems aren't. 3. Your idea of "what wo… https://t.co/5oDVZUix0U— Qasim Rashid, Esq. قاسم رشید (@Qasim Rashid, Esq. قاسم رشید) 1617296552.0
Nobody tried to sneak across the border INTO East Berlin either. Didn't make it a great place though. https://t.co/kHhxmNdt5V— Stonekettle (@Stonekettle) 1617296685.0
Huh. I wonder what happened in 2020 that may have impacted travel and immigration. https://t.co/Cu7x82FJJs— not doctor ruth (@not doctor ruth) 1617301319.0
ICE doesn’t patrol the border, CBP does. But you know that. You’re just hoping your base doesn’t. https://t.co/kTr0esUfnm— Doc (@Doc) 1617294758.0
Cruz is one of many Republican expected to run for President in 2024.