Metro

‘It’s kind of simple,’ Mike Capuano responds when asked about Ocasio-Cortez

Representative Michael E. Capuano at the Green Line ground-breaking last month.
The Boston Globe
Representative Michael E. Capuano at the Green Line ground-breaking last month.

Maybe it was the heat?

Representative Michael E. Capuano got a little testy Monday when asked about two of the biggest topics in Democratic politics this week: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s win in New York and calls to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

First, he batted down questions about Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Latina activist from the Bronx, who shocked party leaders by ousting US Representative Joe Crowley, a 20-year incumbent and the No. 4 Democrat in the House. The race has drawn comparisons to Capuano’s own battle against Ayanna Pressley, the first black woman elected to the Boston City Council.

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“We’ve provided you guys with as much information as you need on the differences between these races,” Capuano told reporters after a press conference on efficiency standards for vehicles. “Every race is different. It’s kind of simple.”

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Asked what the differences are, Capuano would not say.

“Look, I’m not a pundit,” he said. “You guys can be the pundits. I’m putting one foot in front of the other every single day, trying to get as many votes as I can, like I’ve always done. I don’t analyze the race that way. If others want to do it, that’s their prerogative.”

Moving on, Capuano refused to say if he agrees with Pressley’s call to abolish ICE.

“I’ve already given you positions on this, guys,” he said. “If you guys want to rehash the whole thing, you can go ahead and do it.”

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Pressley last week joined a small but growing chorus of Democrats, including Ocasio-Cortez, who have called to abolish ICE in response to the agency’s tough deportation tactics.

Asked what his position is, Capuano said: “I’ve already given it to you. You’ve got it. If you don’t want to read it, that’s up to you.”

Capuano’s office later pointed to a statement he released last week saying he voted against the creation of ICE.

“However, changing who enforces bad policy now doesn’t fix that bad policy and it won’t bring families back together,” the statement said. “The policies being enforced are more important than the agency enforcing them. Before ICE existed there was INS, under the jurisdiction of the attorney general. No one should think for a minute that Jeff Sessions would impose different policies than Donald Trump.”

Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff
City Councilor Ayanna Pressley spoke at Emerson College in April.

In a statement last week, Pressley called ICE “irrevocably broken.”

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“If elected,” she said, “I will work with federal leaders to rehouse the non-immigration enforcement functions of ICE — including human trafficking and money laundering investigations — elsewhere in the US Department of Homeland Security, while immediately eliminating funding for enforcement and removal functions.”

US Senator Elizabeth Warren, speaking to protesters at a rally against Trump’s immigration policies in Boston on Saturday, said she supports “replacing ICE with something that reflects our morality and values.”

Michael Levenson can be reached at mlevenson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson.