Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez supports abolishing the Department of Homeland Security, calling it an ‘egregious’ mistake

US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaking at the NAN Conference, April 5, 2019 in New York City.

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US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaking at the NAN Conference, April 5, 2019 in New York City.
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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York said she supports abolishing the Department of Homeland Security, describing it as a blunder from George W. Bush’s presidency in the 2000s.
  • New Yorker editor David Remnick asked Ocasio-Cortez during an interview for the New Yorker Radio Hour whether she supported “getting rid” of DHS, an agency that the Bush administration established a year after the September 11 attacks.
  • “I think so,” Ocasio-Cortez responded. “I think we need to undo a lot of the egregious mistakes that the Bush administration did.”
  • Some Republicans were quick to defend the agency’s mission. Rep. Liz Cheney blasted Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks and said they reflect a level of “absolute irresponsibility,” the Washington Examiner reported.
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she supports abolishing the Department of Homeland Security, a cabinet department that has come under fire for overseeing the detainment of migrant children in harsh conditions.

New Yorker editor David Remnick asked Ocasio-Cortez during an interview for the New Yorker Radio Hour whether she supported “getting rid” of DHS, an agency that the Bush administration established a year after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

“I think so,” Ocasio-Cortez responded. “I think we need to undo a lot of the egregious mistakes that the Bush administration did.”

The New York Democrat cited her recent trip to a migrant detention facility in El Paso, Texas run by the Border Patrol, a part of DHS. In the interview, she described conditions there as “inhumane” and said they were being treated “like animals.”

Read more: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused Border Patrol officials of forcing migrant women to drink out of toilets while detained

Some Republicans were quick to defend the agency’s mission. Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, blasted Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks and said they reflect a level of “absolute irresponsibility,” the Washington Examiner reported.

“They undertake fundamental cyber intel operations for the nation, Secret Service is part of the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA is part of the department of Homeland Security. It is a crucial agency and a crucial set of operations that keep this nation, keep our citizens safe,” Cheney told reporters.

The two exchanged jabs last month after Ocasio-Cortez compared the harsh conditions migrants are being held near the US-Mexico border to “concentration camps.”

In late June, Congress passed a $4.6 billion emergency aid package aimed at improving the conditions of migrant children being near the border, though progressive Democrats strongly criticized provisions inserted by Senate Republicans including money for immigration enforcement.

A report published on July 2 from the Department of Homeland Security’s watchdog warned of “dangerous overcrowding” and “prolonged detention” in a handful of detention facilities in the Rio Grande valley.