A batch of photos showing now-Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) at a child-housing complex for undocumented immigrants in Texas last year is sparking some criticism online.
The photos, which were made public by a photographer earlier this week, show Ocasio-Cortez just days before she would go on to win in a New York primary in 2018.
They show the New York lawmaker, clearly emotional, standing next to a chain-link fence and crying.
Before @AOC hit the national stage & was just a fairly unknown House candidate frm NYC,she took time awy frm her campaign & came dwn to #Tornillo to protest the #tentcity housing migrant children.I made these previously unpublished fotos a yr ago today. #elpaso #aoc #onassignment pic.twitter.com/SWyyI1XVt9
— Ivan Pierre Aguirre (@i_p_a_1) June 25, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez responded to the photographer on Twitter and said she would “never forget” going there.
As the Houston Chronicle pointed out in 2018, she was part of a group of protesters at the facility. She tweeted about the protest—which was also attended by activists and celebrities—on the same day. She also tweeted similar photos a few days later.
I’ll never forget this, because it was the moment I saw with my own eyes that the America I love was becoming a nation that steals refugee children from their parents,& caged them.
More kids died after this. To date, no one has been held accountable.
We need to save these kids. https://t.co/HhdMqc5zML
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 25, 2019
Many people found the photos to be moving.
I feel her emotions in every single picture. Especially that last one. It’s pure anger, and how can one not feel anger after seeing what she saw? https://t.co/apoY9Tgmub
— L.M.R.R. (@TheOverDOS) June 26, 2019
A large contingent of conservative also criticized them for looking “staged” or for being part of a “performance.” However, it wasn’t Ocasio-Cortez who shared the photos, and it was she who went to a detention center a year ago, highlighting a cause she has continued to rail against since taking office.
“Okay, now do the crying pose, Alexandria.” https://t.co/M4KWiR19Wc
— Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) June 25, 2019
My wife's face when I make a pun pic.twitter.com/HkZbSMzfS3
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) June 26, 2019
RETWEET if you think these were obviously staged ⬇️ https://t.co/zKHQ1oBZzq
— Students For Trump (@TrumpStudents) June 25, 2019
A spokesperson for Ocasio-Cortez told the Hill that comments suggesting the photos were staged are “in no way related to reality or truth.”
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