Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ignited a firestorm after she spent 3 days calling US migrant detention centers 'concentration camps'
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- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is aggressively doubling down on her argument that the US government's migrant detention centers are "concentration camps," despite substantial pushback.
- The freshman congresswoman has tweeted more than a dozen times about the issue and re-tweeted nearly two dozen scholars, journalists, and descendants of Holocaust survivors who defended her.
- Ocasio-Cortez said the migrant detention facilities amount to concentration camps because they're detaining people without trial.
- She argued that those upset with her use of the term should instead focus on what she says is the dehumanization of migrants on the border.
- "I will never apologize for calling these camps what they are. If that makes you uncomfortable, fight the camps - not the nomenclature," she tweeted Wednesday.
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has spent the last few days doubling down on her argument that the US government's migrant detention centers are "concentration camps," despite receiving substantial pushback.
Since Tuesday morning, the New York Democrat has tweeted more than a dozen times elaborating on her argument that the migrant detention facilities function as concentration camps because they're detaining people without trial in "dehumanizing" conditions.
She's repeatedly argued that the country should focus on how the government is treating migrants at the border, rather than debate the terminology she's using to describe it. The lawmaker first used the term "concentration camp" during an Instagram live stream on Monday night.
"We are calling these camps what they are because they fit squarely in an academic consensus and definition," she wrote Wednesday. "History will be kind to those who stood up to this injustice. So say what you will. Kids are dying and I'm not here to make people feel comfortable about that."
Under the Trump administration, 24 immigrants have died while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Since 2017, the Trump administration has separated several thousand migrant children from their families at the border - the exact number remains unknown.
Critics argue it's wrong to compare the US government's immigrant detention to Nazi Germany's genocide. But Ocasio-Cortez cited numerous scholars who say the it's justified to compare the US's indefinite detention of immigrants to both German concentration camps and the US camps used to intern Japanese-Americans during World War II.
Ocasio-Cortez has re-tweeted nearly two dozen scholars, journalists, and descendants of Holocaust survivors who support her use of the term "concentration camp." She thanked Rep. Jerry Nadler, a fellow New York Democrat who represents one of the largest Jewish constituencies in the country, for defending her.
"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," Nadler wrote. "We fail to learn that lesson when we don't callout such inhumanity right in front of us."
And Ocasio-Cortez has repeatedly hit back at critics, including "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, who argued she did "a tremendous disservice" to migrants by "distracting from their plight" by comparing it to that suffered by victims of the Holocaust.
"Well, @chucktodd - the fact that you slipped in "Nazi" when I never said that is pretty unfortunate," she tweeted. "Almost as unfortunate as the fact that you spent this whole time w/o discussing DHS freezers, 'dog pounds,' missing children, & human rights abuses that uphold use of this term."
Ocasio-Cortez also exchanged barbs on Twitter with Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, and rejected House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's demand that she apologize "not only to the nation but to the world" for "not understand[ing] history."
"I will never apologize for calling these camps what they are. If that makes you uncomfortable, fight the camps - not the nomenclature," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Wednesday.
She followed up on Thursday, "I'm curious, @HouseGOP: what would you like people to call these Trump-run human cages? ... What term makes you feel better about brutality? 'Internment?' 'Detention?' 'Freedom Center?'"