Democratic U.S. Congresswoman from New York City
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became a national figure in 2018 when she upset Joe Crowley, a member of House leadership, in the June primary for the U.S. House seat representing New York’s 14th congressional district. The newly minted progressive leader won the general election five months later and, at 29, became the youngest woman to serve in the U.S. Congress.
Much of Ocasio-Cortez’s young career has been defined by her stances on immigration policy. A leader in the Abolish ICE movement, in an interview during her congressional primary race in March of 2018 she called the agency a “product of the Bush-era Patriot Act suite of legislation” and “an enforcement agency that takes on more of a paramilitary tone every single day.” As a congresswoman, she was the only Democrat to vote against H.R. 648 — a 2019 bill to fund and reopen the government — because it funded ICE.
Because of the press’s lack of access to immigration detention centers, Ocasio-Cortez has referred to them as “black sites.” She has also described them as concentration camps and stood by the description even in the face of widespread criticism, citing such scholars as Andrea Pitzer, who made a similar claim.
An organizer for Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign, in October of 2019 Ocasio-Cortez endorsed the Vermont senator’s 2020 campaign and has been one of Sanders’s most prominent supporters, becoming a regular at campaign events. “It wasn’t until I heard of a man by the name of Bernie Sanders,” she said, “that I began to question and assert and recognize my inherent value as a human being that deserves health care, housing, education and a living wage.”
- Immigration Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — Official Government Website
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Proposes Full Welfare Benefits for All Immigrants, Regardless of Legal Status, After Trump Visa Ban Newsweek — October 6, 2019
- AOC: “9/11-style commission” required on Trump immigration policies Vox — July 21, 2019
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Releases Plan to Address Immigration Crisis National Review — July 3, 2019
- “It’s a slap in the face": Liberal organizers are not happy with Pelosi dissing AOC Mother Jones — July 11, 2019
- 'Just as We Said They Would,' Says Ocasio-Cortez as ICE Opens Three New Detention Centers in Defiance of Congress Common Dreams — July 20, 2019
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) (“AOC”) Immigration Court Side — November 12, 2019
- Ocasio-Cortez criticizes opening of migrant facility for children under Biden The Hill — February 2021
- H.R.5700 - 9/11 Immigrant Worker Freedom Act Congress.gov — October 2021