- AOC said talking about migrants at the US-Mexico border as a "surge" pushes a white supremacist idea.
- "It's not a border crisis. It's an imperialism crisis, it's a climate crisis, it's a trade crisis," she said.
- A rise in migrants and children crossing the border is a challenge for the Biden administration.
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday said that referring to the rise in border crossings over the past few months as a "surge" or "invasion" smacks of white supremacy.
"So much of our national conversation, which is not a conversation, about immigration, is driven by people who could not care less about immigrants. So often, people want to say, 'Why aren't you talking about the border crisis?' or 'Why aren't you talking about it in this way?' Well, we're talking about it, they just don't like how we're talking about it," she said while answering questions on her Instagram Story.
"It's not a border crisis. It's an imperialism crisis, it's a climate crisis, it's a trade crisis, and also, it's a carceral crisis," she added, arguing that the US' foreign policy legacy in Central America, its trade policies, and its contributions to global climate change have disproportionately affected the global South.
Ocasio-Cortez also pointed out other issues with using the word "surge."
"Anyone who's using the word 'surge' around you, consciously, is trying to invoke a militaristic frame. And that's a problem. Because this is not a surge, these are children," she said. "And they are not insurgents. And we are not being invaded, which, by the way, is a white supremacist idea, philosophy, the idea that if an 'other' is coming in the population, that this is an invasion of who we are."
Early Wednesday, freshman GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene accused Ocasio-Cortez of "lying" and "being a racist," in connecting the terms "surge" to white supremacy.
The rate of encounters between border patrol officers and migrants crossing the US-Mexico border began increasing in the later months of the Trump administration and continued to rise during the first months of President Joe Biden's administration, the Associated Press reported.
The makeup of migrants crossing the border has also included a larger share of families and children, who are subject to higher legal protections and standards than adults migrating or seeking asylum alone.
Biden has made explicit public calls discouraging potential migrants from crossing the border to the US, but his administration is still contending with how to cope with the current immigration situation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Biden administration has come under scrutiny from members of Congress on both sides of the aisle as well as immigration experts and advocates over the conditions that migrant children are facing in government custody.
In Biden's first news conference as president on March 25, reporters pressed the president on the current conditions at the border and the media's level of access to facilities where migrants are being held.
After giving an NBC crew exclusive access to a facility run by the Department of Health and Human Services where children are being kept in custody, the administration allowed reporters from CBS News and the Associated Press into the main facility Department of Homeland Security facility in Donna, Texas on March 30.