AOC’s Clueless “Concentration Camp” Remarks
Freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC)has become famous (and often infamous) for her frequent gaffes and displays ofignorance. Earlier this week, the New York Democrat stuck her foot in her mouthonce again, this time comparing migrant detention centers on the southernborder to “concentrationcamps” run by “an authoritarian and fascist presidency.” Andmany on the left – including politicians and journalists – agreed with the“sentiment.” Yet both the comments and the “sentiment” are sheer and utternonsense.
Migrant detention centers near the U.S.-Mexico bordermay not be five-star resorts. That is not their purpose. Instead, theirobjective is to detain foreign nationals attempting to enter the United Statesunlawfully. Comparing them to concentration camps run by the twentiethcentury’s most brutal and murderous totalitarian regimes, the German NationalSocialists (Nazis) and Soviet communists, betrays a woeful ignorance of bothhistory and current political reality. This prompted one Polish parliamentarianto actually invite AOC to Poland to learn about realconcentration camps, an invitation she should definitely takeup.
The Bolsheviks began establishing concentration campsfor their political enemies soon after seizing power in Russia. The Sovietconcentration camp system – known as the Gulag– reached its bloody apogee under Stalin during the 1930s and 40s when itenslaved millions, killing many in the process. The German Nazis alsoestablished their own campsonce Hitler gained power in Germany in 1933 and expanded them as they conqueredmost of Europe. At its pinnacle, the Third Reich’s concentration camp empire –death camps in particular – worked overtime to exterminate the continent’s Jewsand other groups the Nazis deemed “subhuman,” such as Gypsies or Slavs. The Germanand communist concentration camps had many common features, including forcedlabor in horrific conditions – causing many inmates to simply be worked todeath – starvation rations, brutal beatings, arbitrary punishments, and cruel torture.Plenty of books have been written and documentary films made on the Nazi andSoviet concentration camps, so there is no excuse for public officials to bethis ignorant.
My own uncle, a Polish Catholic, was captured by theGerman occupation forces in a dragnet to feed the Third Reich’s insatiabledemand for slave labor. He recalled the exhaustion, hunger, and diseases thataccompanied the life of an Auschwitz inmate on a daily basis as well as thefrequent beatings and deaths of fellow inmates. Once, he was brutally beatenfor stealing a rotten onion from a dumpster near the German officers’ barracks.Given such treatment, it was a miracle that he (barely) survived the Germancamps.
Unlike the totalitarian camps – which were filled withinnocent people that the Nazi or Soviet regimes arbitrarily considered enemies –there is a very simple and easy way to avoid being held in a migrant detentioncenter: don’t try to sneak into the U.S. illegally. We are not invading CentralAmerica and rounding up its inhabitants. Rather, the U.S. is simply attemptingto protect its borders like any other sovereign nation.
Moreover, the men and women of the DHS at the southernborder are doing their best while caring for the detained migrants as humanelyas possible given the critical situation. As Border Patrol chief Carla Provost statedduring the House Homeland Security subcommittee hearing on Thursday, she was“extremely offended” by AOC’s remarks. Sheadded: “I’m calling agents who are bringing toys in for children and buyingthem with their personal money; agents are bringing in clothes; they’re feedingbabies; they’re going above and beyond day in and day out to try to care forthese individuals to best of their ability.”
Our elected representatives should know better. Thereason for the humanitarian crisis at the southern border is that a growingwave of illegal migration from Central America – consisting of manyunaccompanied children and real or alleged family units – is overwhelming ourresources. We are at breaking point, and the situation in our overcrowdeddetention centers is merely the predictable outcome of the obstructionistpolicies of AOC and other ideologically kindred politicians who are sabotagingattempts to properly fund border security and discourage mass illegalmigration.