The acting head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Wednesday slammed Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York for calling detention facilities for illegal immigrants “concentration camps.”
Ocasio-Cortez first used the label Monday and has since insisted she was correct to do so despite a firestorm of condemnation.
“The hardworking men and women of the Border Patrol and ICE are working every day to safeguard this country. And, what is this kind of rhetoric doing? It’s demoralizing them,” acting ICE Director Mark Morgan said Wednesday night during a broadcast of the Fox News show “The Ingraham Angle.”
Morgan, who served in the Obama administration, said he has personally seen agents try to make the children in detention facilities comfortable, Fox News reported.
“I was there 2014, 2016, and I’m here now. I’ve watched it, I’ve been there, as well,” he said, adding the agents often donate food and toys to children being detained after illegally crossing America’s Southern Border.
“I saw Border Patrol agents — they care for these kids as if they were their own, bringing in soccer balls to play soccer with them — and this kind of rhetoric, it is irresponsible, reckless, and it’s flat-out wrong,” he said.
Morgan said Congress needs to act, not talk if it wants to fix the border crisis.
“We want to get the kids out of those facilities because we are overcrowded and get them to better conditions. We’ve been asking for $4.5 million to make that happen. If Congress wants to fix this, pass that supplement,” he said.
Ocasio-Cortez on Monday said the federal government is “running concentration camps on our southern border.”
“It’s completely inappropriate, it’s reckless, it’s irresponsible, it’s misinformed, and it’s flat out wrong,” Morgan said on Tuesday, The Hill reported.
“I encourage the check and balance, I encourage inspections. I feel very satisfied that if you go to these facilities, whether its a border patrol facility or an HHS facility or an ICE facility that there will be safe and adequate conditions to detain individuals,” Morgan said.
The Department of Health and Human Services also operates facilities for detained youth.
Ocasio-Cortez has resorted to a dictionary definition to prove she could not be wrong.
“For the shrieking Republicans who don’t know the difference: concentration camps are not the same as death 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.
The battle has drawn different responses from Republicans and Democrats.
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. https://t.co/EEBBkVL7FG
— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) June 18, 2019
Your comments reveal total disregard for our sovereignty & a deep ignorance that belittles the horrors of the Holocaust.
If you’re worried about conditions at the border, why don’t you do something about it & support @RepMikeRogersAL’s bill securing billions in humanitarian aid?
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) June 18, 2019
Jewish groups have deplored Ocasio-Cortez’s language.
“Concentration camps assured a slave labor supply to help in the Nazi war effort, even as the brutality of life inside the camps helped assure the ultimate goal of ‘extermination through labor,’” Yad Vashem, an Israeli museum dedicated to the Holocaust, tweeted.
.@AOC Concentration camps assured a slave labor supply to help in the Nazi war effort, even as the brutality of life inside the camps helped assure the ultimate goal of “extermination through labor.”
— Yad Vashem (@yadvashem) June 19, 2019
“It is sad how many people in positions of influence and power — who decide policy for our country and who should know — are so ignorant of recent history. So maybe before AOC makes comparisons to elements of the Shoah (Holocaust) in the future, she should visit a concentration camp in Europe or at least the Auschwitz exhibit at the Museum of Jewish History in New York City,” Abe Foxman, director of the Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, told Jewish Insider.
“Such ignorant comparisons trivialize the Holocaust and thereby undermine the lessons of history we must learn.”
“AOC should speak with Holocaust survivors and ex GIs who liberated them from the hell of Dachau. It’s an insult to the victims of the Shoah to make blatant false comparisons. Stop casting Trump as a latter-day Nazi scheming to build concentration camps,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said.
“AOC and all Congressmen from both parties have a moral obligation to fix the humanitarian disaster at the border. If they don’t, there will be more needless suffering and all of them, including AOC, will be responsible. Stop demeaning memory and start doing your damn job.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.