The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is a propagandizing, dehumanizing organization that needs to be abolished immediately.
Per a recent Twitter thread, ICE says that they are “committed to upholding an immigration detention system that prioritizes the health, safety, and welfare of all those in our care in custody, including LGBTI individuals.” Such a system does not exist—not here, not anywhere in the U.S. prison system—as it stands fundamentally at odds with the asserted goal of detainment. It should come as no surprise that individuals keep dying at ICE detention centers—at least 24 since Trump’s inauguration—instead of being released from the torturous living conditions.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is here to remind you that, if this all sounds familiar, it should; in an Instagram live video on Monday night, the freshman lawmaker compared the ICE detention centers to concentration camps. Per NBC News, she’s now defending those remarks, saying:
The U.S. is running concentration camps on our southern border and that is exactly what they are. They are concentration camps. I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something. The fact that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the ‘home of the free’ is extraordinarily disturbing and we need to do something about it.
Republicans are not pleased with the comparison. The basic rhetoric behind their dissatisfaction with Cortez’s statement boils down to an assertion that what is happening in the United States is not as bad as what happened during World War II. Representative Liz Cheney retorted with this:
What Cheney and other Republicans seem to be forgetting is that the Holocaust did not start with genocide—it began with internment.
The U.S. has a complicated relationship with internment and deportation. Despite fighting to dismantle the camps in Europe, FDR’s government set up internment camps across the United States for Asian citizens to be held in during World War II; many of these camps were not dismantled until after World War II had ended. More recently, the Obama administration deported an unprecedented three million individuals. Indeed, the Trump administration has repeatedly made headlines for their detainment and deportation policies, but clearly this behavior is enacted by both Republicans and Democrats.
American politicians champion this country as a progressive space that offers the best living conditions for anyone on this planet. They’re wrong. As Ocasio-Cortez notes, this country is losing a battle with an authoritarian and fascist regime—what we said should never happen again is slowly unfolding before us.