Our favorite congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is making big moves. On Thursday, the 29-year-old Puerto Rican Representative and Bronx-native called on Congress to defund the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) claiming that the agency has criminalized Latinos in the U.S. numerous times. She then went on to emphasize that American soil for many Latinos is in fact, their native land.
The speech took place right before Ocasio-Cortez unveiled her Green New Deal, a plan proposed to generate 100 percent of electricity through “clean and renewable” sources only and in the next 10 years. As far as the ICE discussion went, the representative and New York Democrat wants Congress to cut funding to the agency “until they can prove that they are honoring human rights, until they can make a good-faith effort to expand and embrace immigrants.” She then went on to say that immigrants have been part of the United States since day one and that ICE does “not deserve any resources for their radical agenda.”
“We have to have respect for children, respect for families, respect for human rights and respect for the right of human mobility,” she said. “Because it is a right. It is a right. 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 or our status. Period.”
There has always been discrimination in this country against marginalized groups since the very beginning but research shows that the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric has in fact, made more Americans xenophobic. It has fueled hate towards the Latinx community, driving a lot of Latinx to silence out of fear. More and more Latino immigrants have been caught by ICE and deported, many Latinos have been discriminated against solely for speaking Spanish, children have been kept in cages for weeks — in many cases months — female refugees have been raped and assaulted along with their young daughters. And let’s never forget that Donald Trump’s push on this border wall has absolutely nothing to do with security and everything to do with keeping Latinos out and reminding us that we’re no longer welcomed and safe here.
AOC wants to play a big role in turning that all around. Since her campaigning days, defunding ICE has been a top priority for her. Latinx rights and human rights, in general, is something she’s clearly passionate about and we saw that as she was shedding a tear during her speech at the press conference outside the U.S. capital.
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She also clearly knows her history because the truth is, American land is native land for Latinos who are descendants of Native people. Not to mention, there are 10 states in the U.S. that once belonged to Mexico.
Immigrant lives are human lives and it’s time we see some drastic changes.