Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has officially defeated Rep. Joe Crowley (D-New York), the fourth-ranked House Democrat in the NY-14 Congressional primary. She’s already making big plans for investigating ICE when she arrives in Washington.
Because Ocasio-Cortez is the Democratic nominee in the 30th-most Democratic district in the country according to Cook Political Report, it’s all but assured she’ll make easy work of Republican challenger Anthony Pappas in November. Even with five months still to go before she is presumably elected, and another seven months until she is seated assuming a November victory, Ocasio-Cortez is not wasting any time.
Journalist Sean McElwee tweeted on Tuesday night that after speaking with Ocasio-Cortez, she told him she plans to launch a Congressional investigation into abuses of immigrant detainees in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Because Ocasio-Cortez ran on a platform of abolishing ICE, it’s likely her investigation will add fuel to the fire under the feet of ICE, which may give members of Congress more political leverage needed to drum up support for abolishing the controversial law enforcement agency created by George W. Bush in 2003.
Just pulled @Ocasio2018 aside. She told me she is ready to introduce legislation to abolish ICE and set up a congressional investigation to investigate ICE abuses day 1.
— overton window mover (@SeanMcElwee) June 27, 2018
Earlier this year, the Miami New Times reported that ICE arrests of immigrants in Florida alone jumped by an astounding 75 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. The New Times documented various abuses that ICE agents were involved in, including climbing aboard Greyhound buses and asking passengers for their papers, targeting activists who spoke out against them, arresting people at food-sharing events for the homeless, and allegedly torturing Somali detainees.
If she is indeed elected in November, Ocasio-Cortez will be the first Latinx representative from New York’s 14th Congressional District. This is significant, as, according to Pew Research, 361,000 of the district’s approximately 752,000 residents identify as Latinx. Because immigrants and asylum-seekers from Latinx countries are bearing the brunt of abuses at the hands of ICE, it could be argued that Ocasio-Cortez is simply doing her utmost to represent her constituents, rather than pursuing a personal crusade.
Ocasio-Cortez did not immediately return Grit Post’s calls and texts to her cellphone requesting comment as of 11:40 PM Tuesday night.
Michael Boone is a freelance journalist and columnist writing about politics, government, race, and media. He graduated from Texas Southern University’s School of Communication, and lives in Houston’s Third Ward.