On Friday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York blasted President Donald Trump, stating that his immigration policy is not actually about illegal immigration, but about "ethnicity and racism," CNN reports.
Ocasio-Cortez made the remarks during a town hall held in her district in Queens, New York.
"All you need to do is hear what the President did this week to know this is not about immigration at all. Because once you start telling American citizens to quote 'go back to your own countries,' this tells you that this president's policies are not about immigration, it's about ethnicity and racism," the representative said.
The congresswoman's remarks come following Trump's attacks on her, and three other progressive congresswomen; Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
As CNN notes, reports have alleged that the Trump administration wants to put in place a policy which would slash refugee admissions to zero, and the administration has already introduced a rule which bars most Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the United States.
According to Ocasio-Cortez, although the president's attacks on her and other congresswomen show that his immigration policies are about race, they do not come as a surprise. Trump's "biggest mistake," Ocasio-Cortez suggested, "was that he said the quiet part aloud" when he told her and the rest of "The Squad" to "go back" where they came from, despite the fact that all of them are American citizens.
"Because we know that he's been thinking this the entire time. But he's been keeping it in here. And this week, it went out here. When he started telling American citizens -- where are we going to go?"
The controversy reached its culmination on Wednesday, when a crowd of the president's supporters chanted "send her back!" as he held a speech insulting Rep. Omar, a Somali refugee.
The president has since gone back and forth between disavowing the chant, and praising the rally crowd.