Sen. Ted Cruz challenges AOC to visit ‘Biden cages’

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Sen. Ted Cruz challenges AOC to visit 'Biden cages'

Sen. Ted Cruz slammed his Democratic colleague Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday for failing to keep the president accountable over the border crisis, challenging her to visit the “Biden cages.” 

During a speech on the Senate floor regarding the massive influx of migrants at the country’s southern border, Cruz (R-Texas) mocked the previous visit by Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to a migrant facility in West Texas in 2018 during the Trump administration, when she was pictured standing near fencing holding her hands to her face. 

“Mr. President, every Democrat who stood up and lamented kids in cages, in the House of Representatives, Representative Ocasio-Cortez, has a famous photo of her grasping her head by the kids in cages,” the Texas senator said, imitating the photo. “Well, I’m going to give a simple challenge for Representative Ocasio-Cortez and for every Democrat in this body: Go see the Biden cages with your own eyes.”

At the time, the 2018 photo was criticized as a “photo op” or as being “staged.” Ocasio-Cortez slammed the critics, saying the allegations were “in no way related to reality or truth.” 

“Why does Joe Biden refuse to go to the Rio Grande Valley? Because if he goes, the TV cameras will come with him,” Cruz later said.

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Sen. Ted Cruz noted that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has yet to visit the US border since the Trump administration.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“Why does Kamala Harris, who’s supposed to be the border czar, she’s supposed to be in charge of this, why won’t she go to the Rio Grande Valley? Because if she went, the TV cameras would come and would show the Biden cages,” he said.

Cruz’s speech came the same day the White House was unable to specify the last time, if ever, Biden visited the southern border.

Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy pressed White House press secretary Jen Psaki during the daily press briefing, saying, “I’ve been looking all morning and we cannot find any records of him visiting the border as president, vice president, senator, or even as a concerned citizen, why would that be?”

Psaki could not provide a date and said she would check. 

Texas Senator Ted Cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz questions President Biden’s unwillingness to “go to the Rio Grande Valley.”
Ken Cedeno-Pool/Getty Images

Doocy pushed further, noting the president has made a point in the past to travel around the country when areas are affected by wildfires or hurricanes to see the needs of the local community. 

“Well, first of all, Peter, I think the situation at the border is the result of a broken system. And the president certainly relies on his experience,” Psaki said. “So, whether it was the work he did to address root causes as vice president, his efforts when he was in the Senate to support comprehensive immigration reform, [steps] that at a time or done-being done and work toward in a bipartisan way, something that certainly we think should be the case today.

“He uses all of these experiences to inform how he governs how he approaches challenges, and certainly he looks again at the last four years and the separation of children who are ripped from the arms of their parents as a way he does not want to proceed.”

In this June 17, 2018, file photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, people who've been taken into custody related to illegal entry cases into the United States sit in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas.
Undocumented families and children at a US Customs and Border Protection facility in McAllen, Texas.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP, File

Last week, thousands of migrants, many of them Haitian, crossed over the Rio Grande into Del Rio, Texas, seeking asylum. At one point, over 10,000 were camped under the Del Rio International Bridge. Some have speculated that number reached over 14,000. 

On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security revealed that more than 4,600 migrants who were gathered under the have been removed. DHS did not specify how many have been released into the US, but said less than 5,000 remain at the bridge. 

Approximately 1,400 migrants have been deported to Haiti, while another 3,200 have either been processed for expulsion under the pandemic-related authority known as Title 42 or “placed into removal proceedings,” meaning they have been released with a notice to appear at an immigration office within 60 days.

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