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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awy frm her campaign & came dwn to #Tornillo to protest the #tentcity housing migrant children.I made these previously unpublished fotos a yr ago today.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.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 25, 2019
More kids died after this. To date, no one has been held accountable.
We need to save these kids. https://t.co/HhdMqc5zML
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
people saying that these photos are staged are really finding it hard to believe that people cry over the harsh treatment of migrant children? i cry about it too. https://t.co/xCzORR86nO— Kenzie Borland (@kenziealizabeth) June 25, 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— The 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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Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).