FACT CHECK: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez On Immigration
A socialist candidate for U.S. Congress from New York was caught lying on NPR’s “Morning Edition” last week.
“What we’re really talking about is re-imagining immigration to be humane,” said Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “It wasn’t until about 1999 that we chose to criminalize immigration at all, and then once ICE was established we really kind of militarized that enforcement to a degree that was previously unseen in the United States.”
There is one small issue with Ocasio-Cortez’s statement: it is completely incorrect.
In 1929, Congress passed a law that made crossing the border illegally a misdemeanor. It was the first criminalization of border crossing in the history of the country. The same law made it a felony to re-enter the United States after a deportation, and established designated ports of entry for illegal aliens seeking asylum.
Even before 1929, unauthorized entry into the United States was against the law, but not criminalized. For example, the Immigration Act of 1882 and the Immigration Act of 1891 restricted entry for certain classes of people — like any “convict, lunatic or idiot” — and created standards for deportation. The “convict, lunatic, or idiot” rule might do some good if implemented today.
In any case, Ocasio-Cortez’s revisionist history is a fact-free farce.
In the late 1990’s, though, Democrat President William J. Clinton did indeed broaden restrictions on immigration, creating many more criminal offenses stemming from crossing the border illegally. Surely this is what Ocasio-Cortez was referring to when claimed that immigration laws were only created in “about 1999.”
Ocasio-Cortez, who surprisingly defeated incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) in last week’s primary, has already been caught in one major lie.
As reported by several media outlets, Ocasio-Cortez sold the public on a story that she was a “working-class kid” from the Bronx. It turns out, she grew up in wealthy Westchester County, a “ritzy suburb” of New York City.
After telling two big lies in her first week in the public eye, it would seem that Ocasio-Cortez already has the Democrat strategy down to a science.