WASHINGTON—Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was lambasted by the head of U.S. Border Patrol for her comments on “concentration camps on our southern border.”
“The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are, they are concentration camps,” she said in an Instagram video.
During a June 20 House Homeland Security Committee hearing, Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost was asked about the congresswoman’s comments.
“I personally find them offensive,” she said. “I’m calling agents who are bringing toys in for children and buying them with their personal money. Agents are bringing in clothes, they’re feeding babies, they’re going above and beyond, day in and day out, to try to care for these individuals.”
Ocasio-Cortez also said in the video that she wanted to “talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that we should not … that ‘never again’ means something.”
While concentration camps have not been exclusive to the Nazis throughout history, the phrase “never again” is commonly associated in the United States with the Holocaust.
Besides facing calls from Republican members of Congress for her to apologize, she has also gotten criticism from Holocaust historians who disagree with the comparison.
In an op-ed for Fox, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a human rights organization researching the Holocaust, called it “breathtakingly absurd” and offered to make “Holocaust educational materials available to her.”
The Yad Vashem Holocaust research center also urged Ocasio-Cortez to “learn about concentration camps.”
Ocasio-Cortez later made a distinction between “concentration camps” and “death camps.”
“Concentration camps are considered by experts as ‘the mass detention of civilians without trial,'” she tweeted.
Later, she doubled down on her comments, saying in a tweet “I will never apologize for calling these camps what they are. If that makes you uncomfortable, fight the camps—not the nomenclature.”