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Mocking of Cruz for border trip contrasts with ‘star’ Ocasio-Cortez border trip in 2018

The Guardian published a report this week about Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) visit to the Texas border to witness the effects of illegal immigration. 

“Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has drawn criticism for taking a trip to America’s southern border as the conservative Texan politician once again became the butt of internet jokes and memes,” says the Guardian [1], before sharing a handful of tweets that mock Cruz claims that he saw a dead body in the Rio Grande. 

“[I]s this the part where the velociraptor comes out and eats him[?]” asked Florida Times-Union metro columnist Nate Monroe.

“Ted Cruz and Susan Collins claim they were ‘heckled’ by drug cartels at the Mexican border. Both agreed it brought back painful memories of their proms” tweeted Paul Rudnick [4], who wants you to know that the New York Times has called him ‘one of our pre-eminent humorists,’” he continued.

Cruz was accompanied by 18 other U.S. Senators on his tour.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, [6] from 1998 to 2018, there have been no fewer than 249 deaths annually on the border with a high of 451 deaths in 2013. Between 2003 and 2019, 35 border patrol agents were killed in the line of duty, according to CATO [7]. 

While the border would not rank as dangerous as Afghanistan, it can be fairly compared against the murder rates of Detroit and Baltimore, which came in at 327 and 335, respectively, in 2020. 

More important is the contrast of coverage of Cruz, who after all is a Senator from Texas– which has the longest stretch of U.S.-Mexico border —and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D.) of New York, who took a trip to the border in June 2018. 

The media, including the Guardian, used dramatic photos of Ocasio-Cortez dressed in white, staged from a largely empty CBP station in 2018, seemingly to puff her celebrity status.  

“Because of her grip on the fence, because she could be inside the fence or outside, and because she and the people around her are dressed ‘uniformly’ enough to be inmates,” the Columbia Journalism Review [8] wrote breathlessly in 2019, “it makes for quite a display of empathy.”

A photo of Ocasio-Cortez from the tour was also included in a Guardian piece in June 2018 [9] that hailed her as a “new progressive star.”