The Slatest

Ocasio-Cortez Calls for “9/11-Style Commission” to Investigate Family Separation at Border

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaking at a podium.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez holds an immigration town hall in Queens, New York City, on July 20. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says that President Donald Trump’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border has gotten so out of control that a “9/11-style commission” will be required to try to undo as much of the damage as possible. “The 9/11 Commission,” Ocasio-Cortez said at a town hall in her district in Queens, New York, “they were charged with the investigating and making sure they dug out every nook and cranny of what happened and how it happened in our system. And I think that that kind of study is what’s going to be required in order to reunite as many children with their parents as possible. That’s the work that we have to do.”

The 9/11 Commission, which was officially called the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States was set up in 2002 to give a “complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.”

Ocasio-Cortez said that it “chills me to my core” to try to understand just how much of a psychological impact the family separation policy will have on the lives of thousands of children. The United States has a “lifelong” commitment to the children, she added. “Even if you separate a kid from their parents for two days, you have already created lifelong,, lasting trauma,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And there are children who have been separated that we have reunified, and it took about a year to reunify some of these kids with their parents. Lifelong trauma for which we, the United States, are responsible.”

During the town hall, Ocasio-Cortez also said that while Trump may bill his policies as being about immigration, they are really about something else. “All you need to do is hear what the president did this week to know this is not about immigration at all. Because once you start telling American citizens to quote ‘go back to your own countries,’ this tells you that this president’s policies are not about immigration, it’s about ethnicity and racism,” she said. When the commander in chief sent out racist tweets targeting young, progressive congresswomen, his “biggest mistake was that he said the quiet part aloud—that was his biggest mistake.”