Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement director Mark Morgan told the media on Tuesday that Ocasio-Cortez’s comments comparing migrant detention camps to concentration camps are “reckless” and wrong.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made the comparison on Monday night while filming an Instagram Live video criticizing the Trump Administration and its treatment of migrants at the border. Ocasio-Cortez defended her comments comparing migrant detention centers on the U.S. southern border to “concentration camps,” which she has been called out for and deemed insensitive to Holocaust survivors.
“The U.S. is running concentration camps on our southern border and that is exactly what they are. They are concentration camps,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something. The fact that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the ‘home of the free’ is extraordinarily disturbing and we need to do something about it.”
Mark Morgan, Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement director said that Ocasio-Cortez’s comments wrong on so many levels.
“It’s completely inappropriate, it’s reckless, it’s irresponsible, it’s misinformed, and it’s flat out wrong,” Morgan said. “There is so much oversight in these facilities. I encourage the check and balance, I encourage inspections. I feel very satisfied that if you go to these facilities, whether it’s a border patrol facility or an (Health and Human Services) facility or an ICE facility that there will be safe and adequate conditions to detain individuals.”
Others repeated Morgan’s sentiment. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-WY, encouraged her colleague to see one of the detention centers for herself.
“Please @AOC do us all a favor and spend just a few minutes learning some actual history. 6 million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust. You demean their memory and disgrace yourself with comments like this,” she said.
Josh Holmes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s former chief of staff, said Ocasio-Cortez’s comments were “an alarming and dangerous false equivalence that suggests a breathtaking lack of appreciation for the unparalleled evil of the Holocaust.”
“Yeah, I’m not going to let @AOC pretend that she wasn’t making an equivalence to the Holocaust. When you say, ‘Never Again’ means something” after discussing concentration camps, you’ve removed all doubt about what you’re referring to,” he added.
Ocasio-Cortez refused to take back her words or even attempt to make apologies, and chose instead to respond to Cheney’s post on social media via this tweet on Tuesday.
“Hey Rep. Cheney, since you’re so eager to ‘educate me,’ I’m curious: What do YOU call building mass camps of people being detained without a trial?” wrote Ocasio-Cortez. “How would you dress up DHS’s mass separation of thousands children at the border from their parents?”
In addition, Ocasio-Cortez posted a link on her Twitter account to an Esquire magazine article that contains quotes from famed historian Andrea Pitzer, calling the situation on the southern border “a concentration camp system” and defines a concentration camp as the “mass detention of civilians without trial.”