Republicans are trying to fulfill President Trump's famous campaign pledge -- "Make America Great Again" -- by "hurt[ing]" child migrants so that they won't want to enter the U.S., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., claimed on Wednesday.
"The GOP’s grand plan to 'Make America Great Again' is to hurt children, immigrants, refugees into thinking America isn’t great - that it’s cruel & inhumane - so people don’t come at all," she tweeted.
She added that the GOP would fail since "America isn't America at all without immigrants. To turn them away is Un-American."
Republican National Committee spokesman Steve Guest responded by accusing Ocasio-Cortez of weaponizing the crisis in order to attack Republicans.
“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez coveniently forgets to mention that when she had the opportunity to support $4.6 billion in humanitarian aid -- which both the House and Senate passed -- to address the crisis on the border she voted against it. It’s clear that she would rather weaponize the crisis on the border to attack Republicans than actually help fix it," he told Fox News.
Ocasio-Cortez was responding to reports that migrant children have drawn pictures of themselves in cages, a contentious form of detention that liberals have decried.
The freshman lawmaker also urged her colleagues Wednesday to address the migration crisis through a variety of policies -- including her controversial "Green New Deal."
"We need large-scale public investment to spur job creation for citizens & immigrants alike. Ideally that investment transitions us to a sustainable economy (climate & income-wise). We are overdue to rebuild American [infrastucture and] it’s going to take ALL of us & immigrants to do it," she tweeted.
Ocasio-Cortez has also joined some Democrats in proposing that Congress decriminalize illegal border crossings. But Jeh Johnson, former Homeland Security chief under President Obama, blasted that proposal as "tantamount to declaring publicly that we have open borders."
“That is unworkable, unwise and does not have the support of a majority of American people or the Congress, and if we had such a policy, instead of 100,000 apprehensions a month, it will be multiples of that," Johnson told The Washington Post.
On Friday, Johnson also defended the administration's use of migrant detention centers, noting that the Obama administration also used so-called "cages." "Chain link barriers, partitions, fences, cages -- whatever you want to call them -- were not invented in January 2017," he said.
His comments came as a long list of other Democrats have denounced the way the Trump administration has handled the issue.
The issue came back into the spotlight earlier this week after Ocasio-Cortez visited a detention facility and claimed that migrants were forced to drink toilet water. Current and former officials have since pushed back on her claims.
House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., also called for federal authorities to face child abuse charges for the way they treated migrants.
In a letter sent to Trump Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., expressed concern that recent emergency border funding legislation did not do enough to improve conditions at the detention centers.
Trump, on Wednesday, unleashed a series of tweets blasting Democrats for their role in perpetuating the migrant crisis and pushing back on their criticism of the way his administration treated migrants.
"Our Border Patrol people are not hospital workers, doctors or nurses. The Democrats [sic] bad Immigration Laws, which could be easily fixed, are the problem. Great job by Border Patrol, above and beyond," Trump tweeted.