AOC says bipartisan immigration bill would contribute to ‘worsening border crisis’

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came out in hard opposition to the much-anticipated bipartisan immigration bill released on Sunday evening.

“We are, in a lot of ways, contributing to an even worsening border crisis with this bill,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez told The Independent on Monday evening just outside the US House of Representatives chambers.

The legislation — negotiated by Independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Republican James Lankford of Oklahoma and Democrat Chris Murphy of Connecticut — proposes significant changes to the US immigration system. The bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to “shut down” the US-Mexico border when it records an average of 5,000 migrants crossing per day for a week.

The New York Democrat and member of the House “Squad” told The Independent the bill also fails on process.

“It’s bad on process in that key immigration stakeholders are not at the table throughout the negotiation processes,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez said.

Representative Delia Ramirez agreed, telling The Independent she believes the bill would set the US back “100 years on immigration policy.”

AOC told The Independent she stands in opposition to the bipartisan immigration bill released Sunday night

(Getty Images)

The bill — negotiated after congressional Republicans demanded immigration reform in exchange for aid to Ukraine and Israel — would also include $650m for a border wall; curb the “catch and release” practice wherein border officials release migrants into the United States while they await court dates; and take measures to streamline the asylum process.

“It also sets a very dangerous precedent to give Republicans everything they want on the border in exchange for temporary funds for Ukraine and Israel,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez said.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the only Democrat coming out against the bill, standing in opposition to the Biden administration’s approval of the legislation.

Senator Alex Padilla of California, one of three Mexican-American Senators, criticised the fact that no Latino Democrats were included in the process.

“I think it was a missed opportunity to have some more thoughtful perspectives at the table,” he told The Independent. “So, I’m not surprised at the result.”

Representative Ilhan Omar, a progressive Democrat from Minnesota, told The Independent she didn’t even think the bill would make it to a Senate vote. Her comments come as several representatives and senators on both sides of the aisle come out against the long-awaited legislation.

When asked to identify her top concerns about the bill, Ms Omar cut straight to the point.

“All of it,” she told The Independent.

Representative Nanette Barragán, the chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, also criticised the legislation, saying on Monday evening that the caucus would discuss it.

“We’re about to have a family conversation about it,” she told The Independent. “But, before the text came out, we knew that there was a majority of our members that did not support what was being reported out.”

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