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Demanding Medicare for All and the End of ICE, NY Congressional Candidate Ocasio-Cortez Wins DSA's Endorsement

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the first candidate to challenge House Democratic Caucus chair Joseph Crowley in 14 years

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is challenging longtime Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) in the Democratic primary for New York's 14th Congressional District. (Photo: @Ocasio2018/Twitter)

The Democratic Socialists of America endorsed New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Sunday, throwing its support behind the progressive candidate as her campaign to unseat longtime Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), the powerful chair of the House Democratic Caucus, gains steam.

After beginning her campaign for New York Congressional District 14, covering parts of the Bronx and Queens, earlier this year, Ocasio-Cortez has gained widespread attention in recent weeks after releasing a campaign ad in which she promised to fight for Medicare for All, tuition-free public college, and criminal justice reform—and attacked Crowley as "a Democrat who takes corporate money [and] profits off foreclosure" and who "cannot possibly represent us."

Describing herself as "an organizer, an educator, and a working-class New Yorker," Ocasio-Cortez told viewers, "Going into politics wasn't part of the plan. But after 20 years of the same representation, we have to ask: who has New York been changing for?"

Ocasio-Cortez also won the endorsement of progressive Attorney General candidate Zephyr Teachout last week. Teachout called the Bronx native's challenge to Crowley a "gutsy, hopeful, grassroots campaign."

Ocasio-Cortez will be the first candidate to challenge Crowley—nicknamed the King of Queens despite the fact that he lives in Virginia—since 2004. Crowley's absence in the lives of the people he represents is something Ocasio-Cortez frequently mentions on the campaign trail, as is his reliance on funding from Wall Street and luxury real-estate developers who have increasingly pushed working residents out of the district.

Last week she spoke with The Intercept's podcast "Intercepted" about her campaign and her support for abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, amid the Trump administration's acceleration of immigration raids, deportations, and other cruel immigration policies like the separation of children and parents.

"ICE is now the second largest criminal investigative agency in the United States, second only to the FBI," Ocasio-Cortez told Jeremy Scahill. "And the fact that they operate without the accountability of the Department of Justice is extremely concerning to us all...Abolishing ICE doesn't mean get rid of our immigration policy, but what it does mean is to get rid of the draconian enforcement that has happened since 2003 that routinely violates our civil rights, because, frankly, it was designed with that structure in mind."

Ocasio-Cortez and Crowley are set to debate on June 15 in a live televised broadcast, ahead of the June 26 Deemocratic primary.

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