WALSH: AOC Claims That We’re Sending Immigrants To ‘Concentration Camps.’ That’s An Insane Lie.


This week, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did another one of her iconic Instagram live videos where she sat on her couch and babbled about whatever subject happened to pop into her head. During the course of that performance, she made some rather startling claims. AOC declared that the government is running “concentration camps” on the border. Implicitly comparing the plight of Central American immigrants in the year 2019 to that of Jews in Nazi Germany, she cited the mantra “Never Again.” She also said that children are being sent to “internment camps.” So, according to a representative of the United States Congress, we have both internment camps and concentration camps in this country.

AOC spent much of yesterday trying, dishonestly, to downplay and obfuscate these statements. She denied that she was making a Holocaust reference — despite the fact that she used the phrase “never again,” which is a slogan specific to the Holocaust — and insisted that “concentration camps are considered by experts as ‘the mass detention of civilians without trial.'” As always, she wants to have her rhetorical cake and eat it, too. She wants to evoke images of the Holocaust without having to defend the comparison. It’s a bogus game. But no matter what sort of “concentration camp” we’re talking about — whether the Nazi variety or North Korean or anything else — it is simply false to claim that we have anything like it in our country.

Concentration camps are not simply places of “mass detention” where civilians are held “without trial.” If that’s what a concentration camp is, then county lock-up is a concentration camp. The drunk tank is a concentration camp. Airport security is a concentration camp. The term “concentration camp,” in that case, has no meaning. But there is more to a concentration camp then mere “detention.”

Generally, people don’t choose to go to concentration camps. They are rounded up and brought there against their will. They are also held as prisoners — meaning they can’t just up and leave, and many of them will never leave. And there is almost always a political or ethnic dimension to concentration camps. Dictators use them to contain and eliminate despised political ideologies and ethnicities. None of this applies to the situation on our border.

Immigrants come here of their own free will. They are not rousted out of their homes in Guatemala or Ecuador and dragged into camps. They leave their homes and cross our border by their own choice. When they are detained, they are held temporarily, and not as prisoners. If they filed an asylum claim, they will be in the detainment facility while the claim is processed. If they tried to sneak across the border and were caught, they will be sent back. However and why ever they came here, they can leave at any time if they decide they want to return home. That option was not available to Jews in Nazi Germany.

And this is not a matter of political or ethnic cleansing, despite the rhetoric used by people like Ocasio-Cortez. These people are detained because they crossed our border, not because they are from Central America. Central Americans who are here legally, and are citizens, are not being taken from their homes and sent to camps. If they were, then I would agree, yes, we are country with concentration camps, and there is indeed a program of ethnic cleansing being carried out, and probably an armed revolution is in order. But that is not the case. Not even close.

It may be less than ideal to detain mass numbers of people as they come across the border. It may not be the nicest thing or the prettiest thing. But I have never heard anyone suggest a better system. Democrats are eager to criticize the detainment policies (they weren’t so eager when Obama was doing it) yet they have never proposed a coherent alternative. If a flood of people arrive at our border asking for asylum, what options do we have?

We could turn them away, but I have a feeling that AOC and her cohorts would not be pleased with that course of action. We could just grant them asylum on the spot, no questions asked, but that would make a mockery of the whole concept of asylum and render the system unsustainable. We could let them disappear into the interior of the country while the asylum claim is processed, but then we will probably never find them again. Or we could detain them temporarily while everything is sorted out. Of those options, the last one seems the most reasonable and feasible. In fact, it seems like the only real option. If anyone has a better idea, they can propose it. Noticeably, the Democrats have yet to do that.