Ocasio-Cortez leads immigration rally outside White House

Ocasio-Cortez leads immigration rally outside White House
© Rachel Frazin

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOvernight Energy: Interior reverses decision at heart of Zinke criminal probe | Dem divisions deepen over approach to climate change | GM to add 400 workers to build electric cars 'Washington Monthly' editor says diversity on Capitol Hill starts with interns Why is my party prioritizing an extreme environmental agenda? MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday used a pro-immigration rally outside the White House to call for permanent residence for people in the U.S. with temporary protected status (TPS).

Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyDems seek to stifle primary challenges to incumbents Beto could give Biden and Bernie a run for their money Pelosi says she backs lowering voting age to 16 MORE (D-Mass.) spoke in front of scores, if not hundreds, of supporters one day after President TrumpDonald John TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller report MORE held his own rally in El Paso, Texas, calling for funding for his long-sought southern border wall and support for his hard-line immigration policies.

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"We are a nation that turns peril into promise," Ocasio-Cortez said. "We are here to make sure that all TPS recipients become permanent members of the United States of America."

"We are fighting for the longstanding principle...that the people who build this country, stay in this country," she added.

Pressley called TPS a “falsehood,” saying there is nothing temporary about it because its recipients have contributed to the country for decades. She said she also hopes to make the Trump administration “see the humanity” in TPS holders.

"This is not charity, this is what you have earned," Pressley told the crowd. "We will not stop until you get it. Residency now."

The TPS supporters marched in the rain from the White House to the Capitol in an effort to lobby members of Congress.

The U.S. provides TPS for people who come from countries that have faced turmoil such as war and natural disasters. 

The White House under Trump has essentially ended TPS, terminating protections for all but 7,000 of the more than 300,000 affected residents.

Last year, the administration announced that it would end TPS for people from Honduras and Nepal. A group of people from these countries filed a lawsuit on Sunday, saying his actions were motivated by racism.

A similar suit last year temporarily prevented the administration from ending TPS for people from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan. 

A day before the D.C. rally, in El Paso, Trump described his immigration policies and proposed border wall as a matter of national security.

“There’s no place better to talk about border security whether they like it or not,” Trump said, repeating his claim that the El Paso border wall has made the city safer, a position disputed by local officials.

—Updated at 12:43 p.m.