Rep. Ilhan Omar said Friday that fellow freshman congresswoman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is correct in characterizing border patrol detention centers under President Donald Trump’s administration as “concentration camps.”
“There are camps, and people are being concentrated,” Omar told right-wing Canadian outlet The Rebel Media.
“This is very simple. I don’t know why this is a controversial thing to say,” the Minnesota Democrat added.
Omar advocated speaking truthfully “about what’s taking place.” She also called for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement as a way of ensuring “that we have an agency that is accountable to the people, that is dealing with the situation in a humane way.”
“There is no way that we can allow for kids to be caged in this country and children to be separated from their families, and people being terrorized in their communities,” Omar said. “We have to make sure that we are calling them out. And I am a hundred percent with Alex.”
Ilhan Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, and the debate over the meaning of “concentration camp”
The argument over whether “concentration camps” is an academically correct way to describe U.S. migrant detention centers has largely overshadowed the more basic questions raised by Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks, such as whether the Trump administration’s treatment of detained migrants is comparable to the Holocaust or meaningfully different from that of previous administrations.
Ocasio-Cortez feigned surprise last week when asked if her comments calling U.S. detention centers “concentration camps” were a reference to the Holocaust.
But in her initial remarks, made on Instagram Live in mid-June, Ocasio-Cortez called Trump “fascist” and “authoritarian.” And while she did not specifically mention the Nazis, she invoked a well-known Holocaust-remembrance slogan.
She said: “I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘Never again’ means something.”