“He creates a political moment where he can squeeze out money for a wall,” said Ocasio-Cortez, who is also known as AOC. “The reason that he does this is to create this outrage and to say we need more money.”
She added that the situation “is completely engineered by him.”
The comments came hours after Ocasio-Cortez on Monday toured migrant detention facilities run by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), which she described as “horrifying.”
A report released by an internal government watchdog on Tuesday found the harsh conditions within migrant detention facilities are more pervasive than had initially been made public. The report details overcrowding, insufficient food provisions, and health problems that result from the conditions.
“In addition to the overcrowding we observed,” the Homeland Security Inspector General report noted, “Border Patrol’s custody data indicates that 826 (31 percent) of the 2,669 children at these facilities had been held longer than the 72 hours generally permitted under the TEDS standards and the Flores Agreement.”
President Trump has blamed Democrats for the immigration crisis based on the failure to strike a bipartisan immigration reform deal. He has also claimed child separation began under President Obama.
However, while some children were separated from their families during the prior administration, the scale of separations and detentions dramatically increased after the Trump administration began implementing a “zero tolerance” policy at the border in April 2018.
‘This whole congressional allocation was a farce’
The border wall funding fight has been ongoing for months.
In February, after a 35-day partial government shutdown, lawmakers declined to appropriate $5.7 billion for the wall but agreed to give $1.4 billion for fencing and other barriers. Trump then declared a national emergency to reallocate as much as $6.7 billion by drawing on emergency authorization.
In March, then-acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced a plan to transfer $1 billion for the building of 57 miles of new border fencing. Last week, Trump appealed a federal court ruling that had blocked the reallocation of $2.5 billion that had been intended to fight drug activities.