New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez drew criticism from conservatives after she compared immigrant detention centers at the border to “concentration camps.”
“The U.S. is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are,” the freshman congresswoman said on Instagram Live Monday. “If that doesn’t bother you ... I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something.”
She doubled down on her comments on Twitter.
“This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying,” she wrote.
“This is not hyperbole. It is the conclusion of expert analysis,” she said, citing an article quoting a Holocaust historian.
“Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz,” University of Virginia historian Waitman Wade Beorn said in the article.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a concentration camp as “a place where large numbers of people (such as prisoners of war, political prisoners, refugees or the members of an ethnic or religious minority) are detained or confined under armed guard — used especially in reference to camps created by the Nazis in World War II for the internment and persecution of Jews and other prisoners.”
Conservatives slam AOC for invoking Holocaust:
Ocasio-Cortez came under fire from conservatives for her comments.
“Please @AOC do us all a favor and spend just a few minutes learning some actual history. 6 million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust. You demean their memory and disgrace yourself with comments like this,” wrote Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House.
“Clearly I need to explain that, in concentration camps, people are unjustly sought out and confined. This isn’t what is happening at the border,” wrote Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw. "Migrants are illegally crossing our border. Most are asylum seekers, thus pending trial, so your expert definition doesn’t apply."
There is nothing illegal about applying for asylum. Asylum seekers are not put on criminal trials but rather immigration trials that consider their claims.
“This is wrong @AOC. These are incredibly dangerous and disgusting words that demean the millions murdered during the Holocaust,” tweeted Florida Sen. Rick Scott.
Dems back AOC:
New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who unlike Cheney, Crenshaw, and Scott, is Jewish, came out in defense of Ocasio-Cortez’s comment.
“One of the lessons from the Holocaust is ‘Never Again’ - not only to mass murder, but also to the dehumanization of people, violations of basic rights, and assaults on our common morality. We fail to learn that lesson when we don’t callout such inhumanity right in front of us,” he wrote.
Ocasio-Cortez has not backed down herself.
AOC hit out at Cheney, questioning, “what do you call building mass camps of people being detained without a trial?”
“Also [Liz Cheney], the fact that you employed the horrifying word ‘exterminated’ here (co-opting the language of the oppressor) tells us that it’s *you* that needs to brush up on your reading,” she wrote. “Hope you enjoy defending concentration camps. I won’t back down fighting against them.”
“The US ran concentration camps before, when we rounded up Japanese people during WWII,” she added. “It is such a shameful history that we largely ignore it. These camps occur throughout history. Many refuse to learn from that shame, but here we are today. We have an obligation to end them.”