Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s characterizations of detainment centers along the southern border as “concentration camps” sparked a war of words on Tuesday with her GOP colleagues.
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The Trump administration has received criticism for their treatment of migrants at the border after a Homeland Security inspector general report released in June found that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement failed to meet government standards for housing migrant detainees at multiple facilities last year.
In the review of facilities run by Customs and Border Protection, the government watchdog found migrants were kept in "standing-room-only conditions" for days or weeks at a time and observed spoiled and moldy food in kitchen refrigerators.
Tuesday’s debate was sparked when the freshman lawmaker from New York took to Twitter to say, “This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying.”
This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 18, 2019
This is not hyperbole. It is the conclusion of expert analysis ⬇️https://t.co/2dWHxb7UuL
She linked to an article in Esquire magazine, which sites author Andrea Pitzer as defining a concentration camp system as "mass detention of civilians without trial.”
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming criticized Ocasio-Cortez’s statements in a Tweet suggesting that she should “spend just a few minutes learning some actual history.”
“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,” Cheney tweeted.
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. https://t.co/NX5KPPb2Hl— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) June 18, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez fired back at Cheney with a Tweet of her own.
This prompted Ocasio-Cortez to fire back at Cheney again on social media.
“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? How would you dress up DHS’s mass separation of thousands children at the border from their parents,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin also took to Twitter to call out the freshman lawmaker for her remarks and said that she should focus on working with her Republican colleagues. “@AOC needs to stop trying to draw these crayon parallels between POTUS & Hitler! Try working WITH your colleagues on BOTH sides of the aisle to secure our border & fix this rather than desperately trying to promote mass hysteria w this disgusting & woefully false comparison,” Zeldin tweeted.
In response to what Ocasio-Cortez called “shrieking Republicans,” she sent another Tweet doubling down on her previous statements.
“And 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,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.