Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez compares migrants at US border to Jews fleeing Nazi Germany: 'Applying for refugee status isn't a crime'

Mexico to deport 500 migrants who stormed past federal police

Andrew Buncombe
Monday 26 November 2018 18:46 GMT
Migrants enveloped in tear gas after heading toward US

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has likened the Central American migrants seeking to enter the US to Jewish families fleeing Nazi Germany, declaring that applying for refugee status should not be considered a crime.

After US border guards fired tear gas at hundreds of migrants who pushed past Mexican police, and a small number tried to breach the US-Mexico border, the newly elected New York Democrat compared the plight of the people fleeing nations such as Honduras and El Salvador, to those who escaped other dangerously violent or genocidal situations. At least six million Jews alone, were killed during the Holocaust.

“Asking to be considered a refugee and applying for status isn’t a crime. It wasn’t for Jewish families fleeing Germany,” the 29-year wrote, above a Reuters photograph showing a mother and her two young children running from tear gas fired by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents.

The democratic socialist, added: “It wasn’t for targeted families fleeing Rwanda. It wasn’t for communities fleeing war-torn Syria. And it isn’t for those fleeing violence in Central America.”

The issue of the series of migrant caravans making their way north through Mexico has in recent weeks been seized on by Mr Trump, seeking to rally Republicans, and claiming the nation is facing an “invasion”.

Saturday Night Live skit parodies Fox News coverage of Migrant Caravan

In a move that was reportedly been poorly received by senior military officials, the president dispatched more than 5,000 active troops to the border to “secure” it with razor wire, and offer assistance to CBP if it was requested.

In an early morning tweet on Monday, Mr Trump called on Mexico to return the migrants to their home countries.

“Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries,” said the president, offering no evidence to support his claim they were criminals.

“Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the USA. We will close the border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!”

As it was, on Sunday evening, Mexico had already said it was immediately deporting up to 500 migrants who had “violently and illegally” tried to enter the US. The bulk of the migrants come from three countries, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, which suffer from massive levels of violence that is linked to gangs and cartels that supply the US demand for illegal drugs.

The comments of Ms Ocasio-Cortez, who has become a target for right-wing media after the secured the House of Representatives seat for New York’s 14th Congressional District earlier this month, earned her rebuke from conservatives and others.

Benny Johnson, a journalist who was fired by BuzzFeed after being accused of plagiarism before being hired by the right-wing Daily Caller, which was co-founded by Fox News broadcaster Tucker Carlson, said Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s comments were “sick”. In recent days, Fox News has been accused of devoting more time to the coverage of the Democratic congresswoman-elect’s choice of footwear, than it did to a major government report about the perils confronting the US because of climate change.

“Entering America illegally is a crime. Storming the border is a crime. Violently attacking American border agents is a crime,” he tweeted.

“The migrant caravan has now done all of these.”

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in