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New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemned the Biden administration’s decision to temporarily reopen a Texas migrant facility this week, launching a fundraising campaign Friday to ask constituents to fight for immigration reform.
“This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay – no matter the administration or party,” Ocasio Cortez said in a statement emailed to her supporters Friday.
The New York Democrat — who notoriously exchanged blows with former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Thomas Homan during a 2019 House Oversight Committee hearing — has backed an immigration reform bill put forward by Rep. Pramila Jayapal late last month.
The Roadmap to Freedom Resolution calls for an end to migrant family detention centers and provides a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants.
The resolution proposes using community-based alternatives to detention centers while migrants await court hearings – similar to processes used by border control for migrants who are seeking asylum.
“It’s only 2 [months] into this admin and our fraught, unjust immigration system will not transform in that time. That’s why bold reimagination is so [important],” Ocasio Cortez tweeted earlier this week.
“DHS shouldn’t exist, agencies should be reorganized, ICE gotta go, ban for-profit detention, create climate refugee status and more,” she added, echoing a portion of the resolution that calls for “demilitarizing the border.”
Ocasio Cortez claimed the U.S. immigration system has been “broken for decades” and noted that it needed repairing long before the Trump administration.
She has asked her supporters to chip in $3 to help fund “resources to organize and win” progressive immigration reform.
The Texas detention facility had been open under the Trump administration from roughly a month but is being reestablished as a holding center for up to 700 children, ages 13-17, noted the Department of Health and Human Services.
The White House has said the facility is being reopened to allow for additional housing space so that individuals can be properly distanced during the coronavirus pandemic.
“To ensure the health and safety of these kids, [the Department of Health and Human Services] took steps to open an emergency facility to add capacity where these kids can be provided the care they need before they are safely placed with families and sponsors,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday.
“So 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 added.