‘Rep. Ocasio-Cortez not only verbally voiced this concern, she became agitated and animated as she began to bang on the glass…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency that oversees Border Patrol, refused to release video footage of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, yelling at Border Patrol during her July tour of a Texas facility, claiming the footage does not exist despite numerous reports to the contrary.
The Washington Examiner submitted a FOIA request in July directly after reports detailing Ocasio–Cortez’s border excursion surfaced.
Two people who witnessed the incident reported that Ocasio–Cortez screamed at federal law enforcement agents “in a threatening manner.”
At first, El Paso Station Special Operations Supervisor Michelle Perez said that there were cameras recording in the area where the exchange happened. But now, CBP said that footage of the interaction never existed.
“It has also been determined at the time of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez’ visit the station’s DVRs were not operational at the time and as such no videos were recorded and no videos exist of the visit,” CBP FOIA Analyst L. Beasley wrote in response to the Examiner’s request.
One official said CBP could be withholding the footage because the video would show then-El Paso Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Hull “getting run over” by lawmakers.
A memo written on the day of the interaction details how Ocasio–Cortez responded to an agent who had taken a picture near her.
“During the briefing which was presented by El Paso Sector Command Staff, Rep. Ocasio–Cortez abruptly voiced an allegation that a female agent outside of the [REDACTED] had just taken a selfie with Rep. Ocasio–Cortez in the background. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez not only verbally voiced this concern, she became agitated and animated as she began to bang on the glass, pointing and screaming at the agent,” the memo reads.
A senior border official then walked up to the female agent, grabbed her phone, and found a “web-based” image that “had nothing to do” Ocasio–Cortez or the interior of the detention area.
Another person present recalls how Ocasio–Cortez “became more animated and began to stomp her foot she then said, “I as a woman of color do not feel safe here, as women of color none of us feel safe here, nobody of color feels safe here.”
At least three other eyewitnesses have confirmed this account.
“She comes out screaming at our agents, right at the beginning [of the tour] … Crying and screaming and yelling,” one witness recalled.
“The agents, they wanted to respond, but they held back because she’s a congressional delegate,” the witness said. “But when you have someone yelling at you in a threatening manner … They were like, ‘Hey, you need to kinda step back.’”
Ocasio–Cortez recounted the scene differently on Twitter shortly after her visit to the detention center.
After I forced myself into a cell w/ women&began speaking to them, one of them described their treatment at the hands of officers as “psychological warfare” – waking them at odd hours for no reason, calling them wh*res, etc.
Tell me what about that is due to a “lack of funding?”
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 1, 2019
“Now I’ve seen the inside of these facilities. It’s not just the kids. It’s everyone. People drinking out of toilets, officers laughing in front of members Congress. I brought it up to their superiors. They said ‘officers are under stress & act out sometimes.’ No accountability,” she tweeted.
“Just left the 1st CBP facility. I see why CBP officers were being so physically &sexually threatening towards me. Officers were keeping women in cells w/ no water & had told them to drink out of the toilets. This was them on their GOOD behavior in front of members of Congress.”