A top immigration expert carefully dissected and debunked socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) claim that the United States is operating concentration camps on the United States’ southern border.
Matthew J. O’Brien, who spoke to The Daily Wire on Wednesday, is the Director of Research at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). O’Brien has over 20 years of experience working in government and non-government positions focused on immigration.
O’Brien’s interview with The Daily Wire comes as Ocasio-Cortez tries to defend herself against intense criticism after she falsely claimed that the United States is operating concentration camps on the southern border during an Instagram live video she recorded on Monday night.
O’Brien, who is a lawyer, quickly dismantled Ocasio-Cortez’s attempt to conflate the terms “concentration camp” and “internment camp” with the detention facilities on the southern border.
“I think the point that Representative Ocasio-Cortez is missing is that a concentration camp typically refers to a detention facility where a totalitarian regime’s political enemies are kept and the purpose is to nullify them as political enemies,” O’Brien said. “Internment camp is a general term that in international law and in typical usage refers to a place where people are held temporarily in a conflict because they are either from an enemy power, from a non-allied power, and there is some sort of national security concern or other internal security concern associated with them. Whereas, an immigration detention facility is where people are held pursuant to a democratically passed law because they have no authorization to be in the country and they are temporarily held there while the government is evaluating their claim to any kind of immigration relief and those facilities are regulated.”
“The distinction between a concentration camp, which is usually regulated by the totalitarian government’s security forces, an Internment facility, which is usually regulated by the military or by a paramilitary security force, and immigration detention, is that immigration detention is monitored by the courts and anyone who is in immigration detention has access to the courts to contest any issues they may have with the detention,” O’Brien continued. “So to contrast between a totalitarian government using the force of the state to terrorize its political enemies, the temporary internment of people who represent a national security threat … versus a legal process that is designed to protect the safety and security both of the United States and of the people coming into the country because one of the reasons why we detain people in immigration detention is to figure out who they are so we can vet them but also so that we can determine what their purpose is here.”
O’Brien also recommended that Ocasio-Cortez read Michelle Malkin’s book “In Defense Of Internment,” which he said he thought “was a very good explanation of what went on during World War II and why it went on.”
O’Brien noted that illegal aliens are actually detained not only for the safety of American citizens but for their safety as well so that they are not taken advantage of.
“If they are simply looking for a job and don’t have authorization to work, we as a responsible society don’t want to throw them out into the United States where as illegal aliens without authorization to work, they can be exploited by unscrupulous employers,” O’Brien added.
O’Brien also added that this tactic of oversimplifying issues which leads to confusion is a “common tactic” of Ocasio-Cortez.
“So this is kind of a gross oversimplification on an issue that leads to all kinds of misunderstandings and I think that’s been a common tactic of Representative Ocasio-Cortez,” O’Brien concluded.
According to his bio, O’Brien has held the following positions:
Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.