Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) took aim at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezMcCarthy on Dems' spending bill: 'The amount of money we spent to win World War II' On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Photos of the Week: Renewable energy, gymnast testimonies and a Met Gala dress MORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday over her remarks comparing the Trump administration's migrant detention centers to concentration camps.
In an interview, Kennedy accused Ocasio-Cortez of voting against funding for humanitarian aid efforts at the border, a vote the New York congresswoman made because the funding was being coupled with further resources for the expansion of detention facilities to accommodate more migrants.
"Let me be frank. Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez — someone needs to tell her that the voices in her head are not real," Kennedy said Tuesday during an interview with local news station KSLA News 12. "She says that the men and women of our Border Patrol and our authorities are intentionally running concentration camps on the southern border."
"The Department of Homeland Security is out of money, and the congresswoman knows that. She says the conditions are inhumane. But yet when we send a bill over to her to vote to improve those conditions, she voted no. Her hypocrisy is breathtaking," Kennedy added, calling the situation "a problem that Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has helped create."
The comments are some of the harshest GOP the congresswoman has received since criticizing the Trump administration's detention facilities last month in an Instagram Live video. Ocasio-Cortez has since doubled down on her remarks, and other Democrats have defended the characterization amid the release of photos and a government watchdog report depicting excessive overcrowding in the centers.
Kennedy went on in the interview to accuse Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats of supporting an "open border" policy over their opposition to criminalizing unauthorized border crossings.
"Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez believes that illegal immigration is a moral good, and she believes that the border is just a nuisance and it should be open, and I don’t think that’s what America believes," he said.
During a visit to border detention facilities this week with fellow Democratic lawmakers, Ocasio-Cortez said that much of the overcrowding was due to the Trump administration's unwillingness to transfer detainees from detention camps to shelters, where families can remain together.
"One refrain we‘ve heard is that people are overcrowded in CBP concentration camps because the shelters (which are humane places where families can stay together) are full. So we went to a shelter. They said that wasn’t true at all. Only 150/500 spots were filled," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
The Trump administration has faced intense backlash in recent days after an internal watchdog report found detained migrants are living in dismal conditions in federal detention facilities.
A report released earlier Wednesday from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General described squalid and overcrowded conditions at detention centers, while reporting little progress in recent months by Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection, its parent agency.
Trump has dismissed lawmakers' furor, blaming Democrats and existing immigration laws for ongoing issues at the border.