Photo: Mario Tama (Getty)

With months to go before election day, refreshingly progressive congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been given dubious honor of becoming public enemy number one for the hysterical right (to say nothing of noodle-spined centrist Democrats) because of her far-fetched ideas about healthcare (people should have it), human rights (they’re good), and education (more of it, please).

That hysteria took a major leap forward on Monday, when Fox News contributor and Townhall.com editor Katie Pavlich insisted that Ocasio-Cortez’s decision to bar the press from a recent campaign event must be because a bunch of undocumented people were hiding there.

“She says that 50 percent of the community are immigrants, but at the same time doesn’t want to let anyone in to meet who these people are,” Pavlich insisted. “[This] signals to me that they are actually illegal immigrants and that they are harboring them, and they don’t want the press to expose that they’re here illegally.”

Immigrants in the Trump era have every right to be fearful of having their pictures taken or being quoted in the media, but the idea that “these people” who attend Ocasio-Cortez’s events are all undocumented immigrants is a new one. It’s also unclear what Pavlich thinks reporters might do if, in this entirely fabricated reality she’s invented, undocumented immigrants were in fact present at Ocasio-Cortez’ event. Demand to see their papers? Arrest them?

Ocasio-Cortez, for her part, has repeatedly explained that the decision to keep the press away from her town hall was designed to create a space where those who might otherwise be intimidated by their presence would instead feel comfortable engaging in the democratic process.

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Nevertheless, the idea that politicians might actually, y’know, care about their neighbors and (in Ocasio-Cortez’s case, likely soon-to-be) constituents seems to be a bridge too far for Pavlich. And so, instead, it’s gotta be crimes.

For her part, Fox News’ Outnumbered cohost Melissa Francis cautioned Pavlich against “falling into” some sort of diabolical trap set by Ocasio-Cortez, telling her guest, “That’s what she wants you to say.”

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Francis went on, however, to describe Ocasio-Cortez’s explanation for her non-press event as “cheap” and “tawdry.”

You can watch the full conversation here. [H/T Mediaite]