Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezPressure grows to remove Boebert from committees Kevin McCarthy is hostage to the GOP's 'exotic wing' Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan MORE (D-N.Y.) suggested that she is open to dissolving the Department of Homeland Security in an interview The New Yorker published Wednesday.
The New York freshman said Immigration and Customs Enforcement "and, frankly, the entire Department of Homeland Security" are "very large threats to American civil liberties."
"Would you get rid of Homeland Security, too?" The New Yorker Radio Hour's David Remnick asked.
"I think so. I think we need to undo a lot of the egregious mistakes that the Bush Administration did," she replied. "I feel like it is a very qualified and supported position, at least in terms of evidence and in terms of being able to make the argument that we never should have created D.H.S., in the early two-thousands."
DHS was formed in 2002, a process that brought together several existing institutions under one agency roof.
Ocasio-Cortez's position seems to be one step further than the progressive argument that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should be abolished.
Ocasio-Cortez spokesperson Corbin Trent later explained to The Hill that the position she floated in the interview would involve dissolving the DHS as an umbrella agency and re-assigning sub-agencies, like the Coast Guard and FEMA, to other departments.
He added that the suggestion is something to be “looked at studied, not something to be done flippantly."
The lawmaker has been an outspoken critic of the Trump administration's immigration policies and treatment of detained migrants.
Ocasio-Cortez recently accompanied a group of Democratic lawmakers to two detention facilities in Texas and described the conditions as "horrible."
She said during the interview that she witnessed "some of the most inhumane behavior" there.
"It's not even living. ... It was the physical manifestation of Trump's rhetoric in calling migrants animals. Because that's how these women were being treated. Their hair was falling out, they had sores in their mouth due to the lack of nutrition. ... The cruelty is the point," she said.
Ocasio-Cortez's suggestion about dissolving DHS has already elicited backlash from conservatives.
"We've heard them talk about abolishing ICE before, but [Ocasio-Cortez] now said she wants to abolish the entire department. And we will just remind everyone that the Department of Homeland Security is comprised of approximately 22 agencies. They undertake fundamental cyber, intel operations for the nation," Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyKevin McCarthy is hostage to the GOP's 'exotic wing' Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth Prosecutors say North Carolina woman deserves prison for bringing 14-year-old to Capitol riot MORE (Wyo.), the third-ranking House Republican, told reporters Wednesday.
"The level of just absolute irresponsibility now that we are seeing in the Democratic side among someone who clearly is one of the intellectual leaders now in the Democratic Party is really stunning," she added.
Florida Sen. Rick Scott (R) blasted the suggestion as "ridiculous."
"The Dept. of Homeland Security has been invaluable to our country’s safety since it was created after the 9/11 attacks," he tweeted. "ICE & CBP agents risk their lives to keep us safe while Dems sit in their comfy offices & attack them. It’s shameful."
Ridiculous comments by @AOC on @DHSgov.— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) July 10, 2019
The Dept. of Homeland Security has been invaluable to our country’s safety since it was created after the 9/11 attacks. ICE & CBP agents risk their lives to keep us safe while Dems sit in their comfy offices & attack them. It’s shameful. https://t.co/1RNIGR4yrO
Juliegrace Brufke contributed to this report.