Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) looks on during a march organised by the Women's March Alliance in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., January 19, 2019.
(photo credit: CAITLIN OCHS/REUTERS)
Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has equated the migrant camps set up on the US-Mexico border with Nazi concentration camps.
Speaking to her followers on Instagram on Monday, Ocasio-Cortez said that the “United States is running concentration camps on our southern border.”
“That is exactly what they are: they are concentration camps and if that doesn’t bother you, then [I don’t know],” she said as she gestured, adding that she was speaking to those who “are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘Never Again’ means something and... that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the Home of the Free [United States].”
"Never Again" is a common phrase used when pledging to never allow the atrocities experienced in the Holocaust to occur again.
“We need to do something about it,” she told her viewers. “This is not just about the immigrant communities being held in concentration camps, it’s a crisis of if America will remain America in its actual principles and values.”
She made it clear that she didn’t make such comparisons lightly.
"I don't use those words lightly," Ocasio-Cortez explained. "I don't use those words to just throw bombs.”
“I use that word because that is what an administration that creates concentration camps is,” she said, highlighting that a presidency that “creates concentration camps is fascist, and it's very difficult to say that."
Earlier this month, author and expert on the history of concentration camps Andrea Pitzer explained to Esquire
that the definition of a concentration camp is mass detention of civilians without trial, exactly what she said is happening in the US southern border.
She also shared several tweets on the matter saying it’s “probable” that the situation will get worse.
“So far, what the US is doing is similar to some prior [concentration camp] systems, all of which degenerated further before they were ended - (and many of which are still defended in surprising places today),” she tweeted.
“The longer a camp system stays open, the more predictable things will go wrong (contagious diseases, malnutrition, mental health issues),” she explained. “In addition, every significant camp system has also introduced new horrors of its own, that were unforeseen when that system was opened.”
“We now have a *massive* & growing camp system, with no powerful opposition in sight,” Pitzer continued via Twitter. However, she said, “there's a chance protest could work in the US (despite the fact that it hasn't happened in other cases), people aren't in the streets every night, demanding an end to the camps.”
During the Twitter explanation, she made it clear that “Big camp systems don't close themselves… Legislatures have never closed them against the will of an executive. This Supreme Court seems inclined to give the executive power it's historically had access to, even if that power might appear to be abused in current circumstances.”
Pitzer added that she doesn’t think that “the current [Supreme] Court will end this camp system.”
“To sum up this brief sketch, the longer camps stay open, the worse they get, esp[ecially] if they survive their existential crisis & pass a 3- or 4-year mark,” she said, concluding by saying she doesn’t “see any current force in the US able & willing to close them, short of popular protest, which isn't happening yet.”
In the same Esquire
report, Holocaust and genocide studies historian Waitman Wade Beorn said that “concentration camps, in general, have always been designed to separate one group of people from another group.”
“Usually [its] because the majority group, or the creators of the camp, deem the people they're putting in it to be dangerous or undesirable in some way," he added.
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