AOC held a town hall event on immigration in Queens, NY on Saturday.
The young Congresswoman believes the U.S. government must make a “lifelong commitment” to provide mental healthcare services to migrant children. The reason? Because of the lifelong trauma we inflict upon them when we separate them from their parents at the border. AOC told the crowd:
Even if you separate a kid from their parents for two days you have already created life long lasting trauma.
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.
And it chills me to my core to think about 20 years from now, when these kids grow up, the story that they will have about America. That is exactly why we cannot allow this administration to define immigration policy within the United States.
This is something that I think is going to have to take a 9/11-style commission.
When there is a Democratic Senate and a Democratic presidency, Ocasio-Cortez said, the government should convene a special commission into child separation, aiming to reunify as many children as possible and to find out every detail of what happened.
It would work just like the 9/11 commission did when they said what went wrong?
The 9/11 commission, 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.
AOC is correct that some of these children will sustain psychological damage as a result of being separated from their parents at the border.
However, I strongly disagree that the U.S. government is at fault. America has not invited these migrants. They’ve been told not to come. They are well aware of U.S. immigration laws and practices. In fact, they are the same as they were during the Obama administration.
Many of them have been offered asylum in Mexico, but choose to continue their journey to the U.S. border regardless. Migrants know what will happen before they arrive. They know what the conditions will be if they are caught, but choose to put themselves and their children at risk anyway.
Furthermore, if AOC is so concerned about conditions in these facilities, why were she and her pals the only four members of Congress to vote against an aid package to improve them?
The responsibility for the mental health of migrant children belongs to their parents, who have made the decision to break the law.
We don’t need a 9/11-style commission to figure it out.