“If that doesn’t bother you ... I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something.”
She spoke the same night President Trump in a message on Twitter said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement next week would begin deporting “millions” of immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally.
Republicans accused Ocasio-Cortez of demeaning victims of Holocaust death camps with the comparison.
“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,” tweeted Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the third-ranking House Republican.
“This is wrong @AOC. These are incredibly dangerous and disgusting words that demean the millions murdered during the Holocaust,” tweeted Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.).
And Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) pushed back against Ocasio-Cortez’s definition of a concentration camp, noting that many of the migrants detained for trying to cross the border illegally are asylum-seekers awaiting court proceedings.
“Clearly I need to explain that, in concentration camps, people are unjustly sought out and confined. This isn’t what is happening at the border,” Crenshaw wrote.
The vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, a labor union that represents border agents, also pushed back during an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday.
“It’s disgusting to compare concentration camps to what the men and women are doing here protecting our country,” Art Del Cueto said on “America’s Newsroom.”
Ocasio-Cortez doubled down in the face of criticism, tweeting that the Trump administration has established “concentration camps” where immigrants are “being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying.”
“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 wrote, pointing to an Esquire article quoting historians who said the U.S. detention facilities at the southern border meet the definition of a concentration camp.
The back-and-forth comes as lawmakers consider Trump’s request for $4.5 billion in emergency funds to help deal with the flow of migrants at the southern border. Trump’s request includes $3.3 billion for humanitarian aid to help with care for unaccompanied minors and families crossing the border, as well as $1.1 billion for other operations like increasing the number of detention beds.