Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and other Democrats were loudly heckled Friday at a press conference in New York City regarding the migrant crisis there.
The Democrats, who spoke outside the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan, which has become a relief center for asylum seekers, were drowned out by shouting protesters chanting, “Send them back!” and “Close the border!
“Close the border! Close the border! Respect the constitution, AOC! I am your constituent!,” a man was heard among the angry crowd, shouting into a megaphone.
“What we seek to do is to make sure that all the resources are necessary and that we are joining with the city and state,” Ocasio-Cortez said before the man wielding the megaphone shouted over her, saying, “Illegal immigration is not right! Respect the constitution, close the border!”
Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., said the delegation was there to “see for themselves what the migration dynamic is in our nation,” and that they saw children, families, “people that want to work, people that are fleeing violence, people that are fleeing environmental disasters.
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“We see so many stories, heartbreaking stories manifest itself here. What I think, these are folks that will take New York City to a better place,” he said as people kept shouting out in the background.
“Every crisis presents great opportunity. There’s hope and opportunity in this building,” Espaillat continued, noting that “this is a contentious issue,” gesturing toward the protesters who broke out in another chant of “close the border!
The Roosevelt Hotel is an arrival center for all migrants, where they can get food, vaccinations and meet with caseworkers, city officials say.
The delegation at the press conference, in addition to Ocasio-Cortez and Espaillat, were Democrat Reps. Veronica Escobar, Sylvia Garcia and Joaquin Castro of Texas, Nydia Velazquez and Jerrold Nadler of New York, Jesús García, Delia Ramirez and Mike Quigley of Illinois, Jimmy Gomez and Tony Cárdenas of California and Rob Menendez of New Jersey.
“I think that there are three points of consensus here that are very important in getting a solution to that issue,” Ocasio-Cortez then said, despite the heckling. “The first is that there is consensus here across geographies and state on increased federal resources to cities and municipalities dealing with this issue.”
“The second is to allow for work authorizations so that folks in here can get to work and start supporting themselves as soon as possible. They are prevented from getting jobs. They are prevented from employment and that is part of the strain on our public systems,” she added. “The faster that folks can access the work that they’re asking for, legally, the better we can solve this problem.”
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Ocasio-Cortez said the third point of consensus is extending Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelans, who she noted are the largest population who are arriving here.
Earlier this month, New York City Mayor Eric Adams gave his most ominous prediction yet for the fate of the Big Apple, which is grappling with the influx of more than 110,000 migrants since last year.
“Let me tell you something, New Yorkers. Never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to. I don’t see an ending to this. I don’t see an ending to this. This issue will destroy New York City. Destroy New York City,” Adams said during a Town Hall meeting on the Upper West Side. “We’re getting 10,000 migrants a month.”
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“We had a $12 billion deficit that we’re going to have to cut. Every service in this city is going to be impacted. All of us,” Adams said. “It’s going to come to your neighborhoods. All of us are going to be impacted by this. I said it last year when we had 15,000. I’m telling you now with 110,000. The city we knew we’re about to lose. And we’re all in this together.”
Fox News’ Michael Lee and Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.