As expected, President Donald Trump addressed the nation Tuesday night and spewed racist insults and lies. With the federal government partially shut down because Congress won’t fund his border wall, Trump used the opportunity to malign undocumented immigrants. To combat his words, outlets fact checked his claims and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer delivered a response. But one of the most important messages from the night came from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show.
Alexandria – who has received criticism from both those on the right and the left – spoke about coming into her new role in the midst of the government shutdown. She criticized Trump for holding people’s paychecks hostage to fund the border wall and for stating “falsehood after falsehood.”
“Every day immigrants commit crimes at a far lower rate than native-born Americans,” she said. “And not only that, but the women and children on the border seeking refuge and opportunity in the US with nothing but the shirt on their backs are acting more American than any person who seeks to keep them out ever will be.”
While reminding us that Trump has a history of discrimination, she explained how New York – particularly in Queens and the Bronx – has seen growth because of immigrant communities. But that unfortunately, Trump has made more immigrants feel unsafe. Alexandria, who worked as a bartender before being elected to office, added that one of the cooks at the restaurant she worked at decided to return to Mexico because of Trump’s rhetoric.
“No one should feel unsafe in the United States of America and that includes our amazing and beautiful and productive immigrant community,” she said. “And moreover, the one thing that the president has not talked about is the fact that he has systematically engaged in the violation of international human rights on our border.”
She went on to explain how Immigration and Custom Enforcement violate human rights regularly and that no one deserves the treatment undocumented immigrants are subjected to when in ICE custody. AOC also condemned Trump for saying he is for “legal immigration,” but for limiting the ways that people can enter the country.
“He’s fighting against almost every way that people can actually legally enter this country, forcing them to become undocumented and then he’s trying to attack their undocumented status,” she said. “This is systematic. It is wrong, and it is anti-American. And again, those women and children trying to come here with nothing but the shirts on their back to create an opportunity and to provide for this nation are acting more in an American tradition than this president is right now.”
Check out her comments below.