Following POTUS' address on Tuesday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that some migrants Trump presumably wants to block with a wall were acting more American than the president was. The words came during an interview with Rachel Maddow, in which Ocasio-Cortez condemned Trump's border wall demands. In doing so, she joined the ranks of Democrats Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer, who all made televised appearances to address the president's speech, as well.
In her appearance, Ocasio-Cortez argued that Trump was "fighting against family," saying in part, "Those women and children trying to come here with nothing but the shirts on their back...are acting more in an American tradition than this president is right now."
To Maddow, the 28-year-old Congress member further defended "our amazing, and beautiful, and productive immigrant community," stating that no one in America should "feel unsafe."
Then, she continued in part,
The president should not be asking for more money to an agency that has systematically violated human rights. The president should be really defending why we are funding such an agency at all...these children and these families are being held in...freezing boxes that no person should be maintained in.
Ocasio-Cortez went on to say that even if people are "anti-immigrant" in the United States, that was no reason to build a border wall, because "the majority of people [in America] who are documented is because of visa overstay, not because people are crossing a border illegally."
According to a report by Politifact, this claim by Ocasio-Cortez is "mostly true." The report points to a study conducted by Pew Research Center in 2006 which revealed that up to 45 percent of the "unauthorized migrant population" in the United States was made up of visa overstayers. In this context, visa overstayers include a range of individuals, from students who violate their visa restrictions to tourists and workers who violated their visas, as well.
The reason why the Politifact report deemed this claim "mostly true" and not "fully true," though, is because of how dated that study is, and how the Department of Homeland Security has not provided updated statistics on the number of undocumented immigrants who have overstayed their visas in recent years.
Ocasio-Cortez's powerful monologue was matched by a similarly critical denunciation of the president made by Sanders that same night. Sanders said in his own address, "What President Trump is trying to do is create fear and hatred in our country. Instead of trying to bring us together as a people, he is trying to divide us up.”
During Trump's speech on Tuesday night, the president argued that the need to build a wall had nothing to do with dislike of migrants trying to seek asylum. Rather, he claimed it was out of love for those inside of the country. Via Newsweek, he said, "Some have suggested a barrier is immoral. Then why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences, and gates around their homes? They don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside, but because they love the people on the inside."
He continued, "The only thing that is immoral is the politicians to do nothing and continue to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized."
As of Tuesday, the government shutdown has reached 18 days, with the stalemate on border wall funding having no seeming end in sight.