Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) continues to insist the Trump administration is operating “concentrations camps” along the U.S.-Mexico border where migrant children are housed, claiming Wednesday that the country has a long history of doing so.
“The US ran concentration camps before, when we rounded up Japanese people during WWII,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. It is such a shameful history that we largely ignore it.” The self-avowed Democratic-socialist continued: “These camps occur throughout history. Many refuse to learn from that shame, but here we are today. We have an obligation to end them.”
Ocasio-Cortez set off a political firestorm this week after referring to President Donald Trump as a “fascist” whose administration is running “concentration camps” on the Southern border. “That is exactly what they are. They are concentration camps,” the New York Democrat argued while live-streaming on Instagram Monday. “The fact that concentrations camps are now an institutionalized practice in the Home of the Free is extraordinarily disturbing and we need to do something about it.”
Her comments, which further appropriated the “Never Again” slogan of Holocaust remembrance, were met with scorn from Republicans on Capitol Hill, including Rep. Elizabeth Cheney (R-WY), who urged her colleague to learn “actual history” before commenting on the hot button topic.
“Please @AOC do us all a favor and spend just a few minutes learning some actual history,” Cheney wrote on Twitter. “6 million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust. You demean their memory and disgrace yourself with comments like this”:
Soon after this backlash, Ocasio-Cortez launched into another Twitter tirade, citing comments from an “expert” in the fashion magazine Esquire contending how border facilities possess similarities to concentration camps.“Concentration camps are considered by experts as ‘the mass detention of civilians without trial. And that’s exactly what this administration is doing,” she said.
As Breitbart News reports:
Detention facilities are a far cry from both concentration camps and certainly from death camps. Detention facilities serve as a temporary holding place for illegal migrants – not U.S. citizens or civilians – while their claims and hearings are being processed. Additionally, detention centers provide another layer of security for the American people.
According to a report last week, ICE had to quarantine 4,200 migrant detainees for exposure to mumps, 800 for exposure to chicken pox, and 100 were quarantined for exposure to both.
The quarantine stretches across many of the 39 immigrant detention centers, where many await their deportation hearings.
Later Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez shared a June 2018 video of her at the Tornillo-Guadalupe port of entry gate, where she and others were protesting migrant children being separated from their parents after they were caught illegally entering the country under the administration’s strict zero-tolerance policy.
“This video was from 1 year ago this week – before my primary & the Fox News cycle,” she tweeted with the video. “I flew to the concentration camp where the Trump admin was keeping children they stole from their parents. Back then, I was voicing my conscience. I still am. #AbolishICE.”
Jewish groups have expressed outrage over Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks, accusing the lawmaker of trivializing the Holocaust by using terms strongly associated with the World War II-era genocide.
Ocasio-Cortez “should speak with Holocaust survivors and ex GIs who liberated them from the hell that was Dachau” since it’s an “insult to victims of Shoah to make [a] blatant false comparison,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the Jewish Journal.
“AOC and her fellow members of Congress from both parties have a moral obligation to fix the humanitarian disaster at the border,” he added. “If they don’t there will only be more needless suffering and all of them, including AOC will be responsible. Stop demeaning memory and start doing your damn job.”