Ilhan Omar will travel to the border to see the crisis for herself, as will fellow House Democrat Joaquin Castro. What about the House Democrat who called detention facilities “concentration camps” during the Trump administration? The New York Post notices that one high-profile progressive has gone awfully quiet in this crisis:
Rep. Ilhan Omar will travel to the southern border on Friday amid continued silence on the record surge of immigrants from fellow “squad” member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — who accused the previous administration of housing migrants in “concentration camps.” …
The group of House Democrats will visit the Carrizo Springs, Texas, facility for unaccompanied minors for the purpose of “oversight to ensure humane treatment and orderly process to unite kids with families.”
A spokesperson for Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) office did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on whether she plans to make the trip.
It’s not just that Ocasio-Cortez has gone silent on this particular codel. She has also gone silent entirely on this issue — after making it a particular priority for the last four years. It’s been a month since Ocasio-Cortez has made any comment at all, the NYP notes, and even that was pretty thin at the time:
Both times came on the same day in late February, when she wrote in response to a report about migrant facilities being opened for children under the new president, “This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay – no matter the administration or party.”
Asked later in the day by a Twitter user how the government should deal with unaccompanied migrant children, AOC responded that her first short term solution would be “requiring influx facilities with children to be licensed.
“Another issue is whether these services should be contracted out the way they are. And whether facilities w/ controversial records (ex. Homestead) should even be reopened.”
Aaaaaaand … that was four weeks ago. Since then, Ocasio-Cortez has ignored the issue entirely, which is a far cry from this, er, cry in July 2019. AOC didn’t have any trouble going to these facilities and grandstanding for the press, even while claiming the presence of Border Patrol officers made her feel unsafe:
So what’s changed? Frankly, this is a puzzlement. AOC isn’t exactly a dues-paying member of the Joe Biden wing of the Democratic Party. She endorsed Bernie Sanders and only reluctantly came along for Biden after the primaries. Omar doesn’t appear to feel beholden to Biden, although she’s not as vocal on this issue as she had been during the Trump administration.
Why has AOC gone AWOL now, when this crisis gives her a perfect opportunity to build some credibility as an activist? One has to wonder whether she’s looking for a position in the Biden administration, or whether she has some trouble heading her way and wants to lower her profile ahead of it. If it’s not either of those, then the only answer is that AOC’s an opportunist when opportunism involves zero cost. And that might be the simplest answer of all.