Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the star Democratic congresswoman-elect from New York, compared migrant caravan members who clashed over the weekend with U.S. border agents to Jewish families fleeing Nazi Germany and other targets of genocide.
Ocasio-Cortez, who was elected to represent New York’s 14th Congressional District earlier this month, tweeted over the weekend in support of those attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. She compared those fleeing violence in Central America to those who escaped Germany, Rwanda and Syria.
“Asking to be considered a refugee & applying for status isn’t a crime. It wasn’t for Jewish families fleeing Germany. 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,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted late Sunday.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., fired back at the incoming freshman lawmaker on Monday, recommending she study the "differences" between Nazi Germany and the migrant caravan in Mexico.
"I recommend she take a tour of the Holocaust Museum in DC. Might help her better understand the differences between the Holocaust and the caravan in Tijuana," Graham tweeted.
Ocasio-Cortez responded to Graham Monday evening by tweeting: "[T]he point of such a treasured museum is to bring its lessons to present day.
"This administration has jailed children and violated human rights," she added. "Perhaps we should stop pretending that authoritarianism + violence is a historical event instead of a growing force."
Over the weekend, hundreds of migrants from the Central American caravan rushed the border at the port of entry in San Ysidro, Calif.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said some demonstrators “attempted to illegally enter the U.S. through both the northbound and southbound vehicle lanes at the port of entry itself. Those persons were stopped and turned back to Mexico.”
U.S. border agents shot several rounds of tear gas after some migrants attempted to penetrate various points along the border and threw what appeared to be rocks at U.S. authorities.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement that some migrants "attempted to breach legacy fence infrastructure along the border and sought to harm CBP personnel by throwing projectiles at them.
"As I have continually stated, DHS will not tolerate this type of lawlessness and will not hesitate to shut down ports of entry for security and public safety reasons," Nielsen said. "We will also seek to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone who destroys federal property, endangers our frontline operators, or violates our nation’s sovereignty."
The Mexican Interior Ministry said Sunday afternoon it would immediately deport the migrants who tried to "violently" breach the border. The Mexican government described Sunday's events as "acts of provocation" that were "far from helpful" for the migrants' objectives.
President Trump told Mexico early Monday that migrants allegedly threatening to storm the U.S. would be sent “back to their countries.”
“Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries,” Trump tweeted. “Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A. We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!” Trump tweeted Monday morning.
The Trump administration has said asylum claims from members of a series of caravans originating in Central America must be processed outside the U.S., and that all those entering illegally will be denied. A federal judge has at least temporarily ruled against the policy, but the administration has taken steps to harden the border.
As of Monday morning, about 50 migrants had been detained after illegally crossing the border. The exact number of those apprehended is expected to be made public later Monday, a senior Department of Homeland Security official told Fox News.
In Mexico, Tijuana’s municipal government announced it arrested more than three-dozen migrants for disturbing the peace and other charges related to the crossing attempt.
Fox News’ Greg Wilson, Greg Norman and Gregg Re contributed to this report.