Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s wipes away tears at protest to defund US border agency: ‘They don't deserve a dime’

Andrew Buncombe
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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s wipes away tears at protest to defund US border agency: ‘They don't deserve a dime’

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s wipes away tears at protest to defund US border agency: ‘They don't deserve a dime’

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was seen wiping tears from her face after using the death of a seven-year-old migrant child to demand an end to funding for the nation’s border agency.

At the event on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, the New York congresswoman said US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) did “not deserve a dime”, until it showed it cared about human rights.

“Not only will we not agree to fund [ICE], but we are here to say that an agency like ICE, which repeatedly and systematically violates human rights, does not deserve a dime,” she said.

According to Mediabite, she added: “Until they can prove that they are honouring human rights, until they can make a good-faith effort to expand and embrace immigrants, the immigrants in this nation that have always been a part, and have always been a core element of American democracy, until they can prove good faith to an American ideal they do not deserve any resources for their radical agenda.”

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At the event, organised by progressive group MoveOn and which was also attended by fellow new Democratic congresswomen Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, Ms Ocasio-Cortez referred to the death of Guatamalan youngster Jakelin Caal Maquin, who died in December after she and her father were picked up as part of a group of 163 undocumented migrants in a stretch of the New Mexico desert.

The little girl was flown to a hospital in El Paso and initially revived after falling ill and her temperature soaring. She died less than 24 hours later, raising questions about who will prepared the border agency was for dealing with the flood of migrants and asylum seekers from Central America that have been arriving at the southern US border in greater numbers in recent months.

During this week’s State of the Union address, Ms Ocasio-Cortez and the other three congresswomen wore lapel badges bearing the little girl’s face.

While Ms Ocasio-Cortez and others have demanded the closure of ICE, Donld Trump has demanded $5.7bn to build a wall. He and Democrats failed to reach a compromise, leading to the longest shutdown in government history.

On Thursday, Reuters said House speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed hope that negotiators would reach a deal on border security ahead of another shutdown deadline of February 15. “Just let them do their work,” she told reporters.