Self-avowed Democratic Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has praised 2020 Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders for pledging to break up two immigration-related agencies if elected in November.
“Sen. Sanders is the only candidate to commit to breaking up ICE and CBP,” Ocasio-Cortez told voters in Iowa on Sunday.
ICE stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency that largely handles internal enforcement of immigration laws.
Customs and Border Protection focuses primarily on border security and inspection of goods coming into the U.S.
The Democrat, along with Sanders have both been vocal opponents of both agencies as well as President Donald Trump’s policies of enforcing all immigration laws and tightening border security.
Ocasio-Cortez also told the crowd that Sanders has long been an advocate for progressive policies.
“He has not become a progressive now because it is cool,” she said.
In July before he announced his second bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sanders called for ‘restructuring’ ICE while demanding a complete overhaul of U.S. immigration policy.
“In 2002 I voted against the creation of DHS and the establishment of ICE,” Sanders tweeted. “That was the right vote. Now, it is time to do what Americans overwhelmingly want: abolish the cruel, dysfunctional immigration system we have today and pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
That reform, he said, “will mean restructuring the agencies that enforce our immigration laws, including ICE.”
Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, has been a vociferous critic of ICE, especially, even suggesting about a year ago that Hispanics should not be subject to deportation at all since they are “native” to the United States.
“[ICE] do not deserve a dime until they can prove that they are honoring human rights, until they can make a good faith effort to expand and embrace immigrants … Until they can prove good faith to an American ideal, they do not deserve any resources for their radical agenda,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“We have to have respect for children, respect for families, respect for human rights, and respect for the right of human mobility,” she added.
She added that the U.S. must adhere to “the right of human mobility” and went on to suggest that Latino people cannot be criminalized because they are Native people.
“Because 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 and our status,” she said.