U.S. Rep. John Joyce, AOC spar on House floor over immigration provision in defense bill

U.S. Rep. John Joyce, R-13th District, on the U.S. House floor (YouTube screen cap)

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. John Joyce sparred with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on the U.S. House floor this week over border security. 

Joyce, who represents central Pennsylvania’s 13th District, slammed Ocasio-Cortez for an amendment she sought to add to a defense spending bill that would bar the executive branch from deploying troops on the southern border to enforce immigration law. 

Ocasio-Cortez said the armed services don’t have a clear legislative mandate to protect or patrol the border. “The militarization of our immigration system, particularly under this administration, must be stopped,” she said. “This amendment ensures that our troops are to be deployed only in the most exigent circumstances to address actual national security threats.” 

But Joyce called the amendment, which failed, “dangerous” and “disrespectful to the hardworking men and women of our Border Patrol,” Joyce said. 

“And to make matters worse,” he added, Ocasio-Cortez also said recently that she would support eliminating the Department of Homeland Security. 

“I think we need to undo a lot of the egregious, a lot of the egregious mistakes that the Bush administration did,” she told The New Yorker’s David Remnick. “I feel like we are at a very, it’s a very qualified and supported position, at least in terms of evidence, and in terms of being able to make the argument, that we never should’ve created DHS in the early 2000s,” she said, according to CNN. 

Joyce said, “If you want to get rid of DHS, and you want to take away DOD’s ability to help secure the border, who is going to be left to stop the drug traffickers and cartel members who continue to infiltrate our country in record numbers? Madame Speaker, this amendment is just another step in the ongoing effort by my colleagues across the aisle to make us a country of open borders.”

The New York Democrat responded to Joyce on the floor, saying, “I think it is important that we clarify that in order to have a humane immigration system, we do not require militarization or cruelty to children.” 

She added, “Asking that children not be caged and asking that human beings’ rights — human rights — be respected does not mean ‘open borders.’ It means that we be a humane nation that respects our mission as one that guarantees liberty, prosperity, and the pursuit of happiness for all people who live on American soil.” 

Both Joyce and Ocasio-Cortez voted against the defense spending bill, which passed the House on Friday afternoon. 



Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.