Things That Matter

Historians And AOC Agree That Detention Centers Look Like Concentration Camps But Conservatives Don’t Want To Hear It

In the years since Donald Trump took up the role of president of the United States, the front pages of newspapers and media sites have depicted images of starving children behind bars and parents being separated and detained from their infants. Social scientists and historians specializing in internment camps and have said that today’s U.S. detention centers look pretty similar to the dawn of earlier historical atrocities and yet the question of what these images evoke are still being questioned.

Conservatives aren’t happy with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez once again after the novice representative for New York’s 14th congressional district likened Trump’s actions to the early phases of the Holocaust.

During a recent streaming on Instagram Live, Ocasio-Cortez said that “The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border.”

“The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are — they are concentration camps,” Ocasio-Cortez said to an Instagram Live audience on Monday. “And if that doesn’t bother you … I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that we should not, 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.” The phrase “never again” has become used by Jewish people when talking about the Holocaust.

During her stream, Ocasio-Cortez also pointed to the thousands of migrant children were being held in facilities that had been used to detain Japanese Americans during World War II. 

Ocasio-Cortez’s reference relates to last week when the Department of Health and Human Services, which is meant to care for unaccompanied migrant children, announced that it would begin to use Fort Sill Army Base, located in Oklahoma, to hold minors. The base was formerly an internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II. It was also used previously by the Obama administration as a base for detaining migrant children.

Ocasio- Cortez referred said that how we proceed in addressing the current “crisis” as a country will work as a reflection as to whether or not we are losing our principles and values to an “authoritarian and fascist presidency.”

“I don’t use those words lightly. I don’t use those words to just throw bombs. I use that word because that is what an administration that creates concentration camps is,” Ocasio- Cortez said. “A presidency that creates concentration camps is fascist, and it’s very difficult to say that, because it is very difficult to accept the fact that that is how bad things have gotten, but that is how bad things have gotten.”

In response, Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, accused the democrat of disrespecting the Jewish people killed during the Holocaust.

“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,” the Wyoming Republican tweeted.

Ocasio-Cortez quickly responded “Hey Rep. Cheney, since you’re so eager to ‘educate me,’ I’m curious: What do YOU call building mass camps of people being detained without a trial? How would you dress up DHS’s mass separation of thousands children at the border from their parents?”

Key Democrats Are Calling For The Resignation Of Trump’s Senior Policy Advisor After Emails Promoting White Supremacy Leaked

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Key Democrats Are Calling For The Resignation Of Trump’s Senior Policy Advisor After Emails Promoting White Supremacy Leaked

 White House aide Stephen Miller has been a controversial threat to the integrity and soundness of the White House since he was named Senior Advisor to the President for Policy in 2016. The right-wing political activist and white nationalist has frequently espoused beliefs and talking points of white supremacists and the alt-right. His policies and beliefs have proved to be a stark contrast to New York representative Alexandria-Ocasio-Cortez, a democrat and activist who has made advocacy for the rights of minorities a cornerstone of her own platform.

Recently the two politicians have gone head to toe after AOC called for Miller’s resignation after it was revealed that he had promoted white supremacist articles in the recent past. 

Representative Ocasio-Cortez recently called on the White House senior adviser and immigration policy architect to resign this week.

On Tuesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center released over nine hundred of Miller’s emails that had been sent to Breitbart News editors between 2015 and 2016. 

After the release of hundreds of Miller’s emails promoting white nationalist content and extremely restrictive immigration policies was released, AOC called for his resignation. Miller’s leaked emails showed that he promoted and shared stories that appeared on white nationalist websites and sparked outrage online and amongst liberal politicians. 

Addressing the emails, AOC described Miller as “Trump’s architect of mass human rights abuses at the border” she went onto say that he “has been exposed as a bonafide white nationalist. He’s still at the White House shaping US immigration policy. Miller must resign. Now.” She followed up her tweets with a petition that demanded Miller’s resignation and reads “A white nationalist is currently serving as a top advisor to the President of the United States. In 2019. … This man cannot serve in the White House.”

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center over 80 percent of the leaked emails were sent while Miller served as an aide to Jeff Sessions during his time as a senator. The SPCL claims that the emails primarily touched on race and immigration. 

One of the emails shows that Miller sent a Breitbart staffer a link to VDARE, an extremely influential website among white nationalists.

Other emails showed links to the right-wing website InfoWars, a media organization that has been sued by Sandy Hook families for their promotion of false conspiracy theories that the shooting, which took place in 2012 and killed 20 children and six adults, was staged. 

According to SPCL, Miller also sent an email to Katie McHugh, a former Breitbart employee who has renounced her views since working at the site, that the survivors of the 2015 hurricane, Patricia “could be given temporary protected status, and that it needed to be ‘the weekend’s BIG story.'”

In response to the leaks a Breitbart spokesperson said “The SPLC claims to have three- to four-year-old emails, many previously reported on, involving an individual whom we fired years ago for a multitude of reasons, and you now have an even better idea why we fired her. Having said that, it is not exactly a newsflash that political staffers pitch stories to journalists — sometimes those pitches are successful, sometimes not.”

Since the emails were leaked, Democrats beside AOC have been quick to strike Miller down. 

In a series of tweets, Caroline Orr, a reporter for the National Observer, said that “Stephen Miller emailed Breitbart 900+ times from 2015-2016 to lay out his anti-immigrant policies. His source material included: -White nationalist websites -A “white genocide”-themed novel -Eugenics-era laws that Adolf Hitler lauded in “Mein Kampf.””

 Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has also called for Mr. Miller to resign. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, stated in a tweet that Miller Stephen Miller should never have been hired and should be fired immediately. While Senator Bernie Sanders said “Stephen Miller’s white nationalist views are a danger to the American people. We are going to defeat this hateful administration and everything it stands for.”

Since the emails were leaked, Democrats beside AOC have been quick to strike Miller down. 

In a series of tweets, Caroline Orr, a reporter for the National Observer, said that “Stephen Miller emailed Breitbart 900+ times from 2015-2016 to lay out his anti-immigrant policies. His source material included: -White nationalist websites -A “white genocide”-themed novel -Eugenics-era laws that Adolf Hitler lauded in “Mein Kampf.””

 Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has also called for Mr. Miller to resign. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, stated in a tweet that Miller Stephen Miller should never have been hired and should be fired immediately. While Senator Bernie Sanders said “Stephen Miller’s white nationalist views are a danger to the American people. We are going to defeat this hateful administration and everything it stands for.”

California Passed A Ban On For-Profit Immigrant Detention Centers But It Looks Like ICE Is Ignoring The New Law

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California Passed A Ban On For-Profit Immigrant Detention Centers But It Looks Like ICE Is Ignoring The New Law

Ronen Tivony / ZUMA

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) posted a request for new private migrant detention centers in California, a mere five days after Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill effectively banning such detention facilities. 

California is the first state to ban privately-run, for-profit immigration detention centers popular with the Trump administration. The new law will also ban private prisons and put a stop on new contracts after January 1, 2020, along with phasing out existing detention centers by 2028, according to the LA Times

However, on October 16, ICE posted a request for offers on the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website to open up at least four new for-profit detention centers. Legislators and advocates believe ICE is attempting tp circumvent the law before the new year’s deadline by rushing new contracts through. 

Senator Kamala Harris calls out ICE’s controversial tactic.

“Let’s be clear: By rushing through new contracts before California’s ban takes effect, ICE is violating the spirit of California law and risks wasting taxpayer dollars in an attempt to lock away even more human beings,” said California Senator Kamala Harris. “We need to fight back.” 

In ICE’s request, according to Mother Jones’ review of FBO documents, they’re looking for “turnkey ready” detention centers in San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles for “the exclusive use of ICE and the ICE detainee population.” ICE wants approximately 6,750 beds spread across the four facilities with contracts that would last five to 15 years. 

“The facilities shall be turnkey ready at the beginning of contract performance and able to provide housing, medical care, transportation, guard services, meals, and the day to day needs for ICE detainees,” the FBO solicitation says. “Due to mission needs, proposals for new construction will not be accepted for this solicitation.”

ICE already has four privately-run detention centers in California. 

“I’m not prepared to allow ICE to improperly violate AB 32 and hurt Californians,” said Assemblyman Rob Bonta who wrote the bill. 

ICE has tried to undermine’s California’s status as a sanctuary city before.

“ICE is doing everything they can to circumvent California law,” Silky Shah, executive director of Detention Watch Network, told the Desert Sun. “It’s not surprising that ICE is doing this.”

It may not come as a surprise to Shah because ICE has used unscrupulous tactics before. Adelanto, the second-largest detention center in the country, was independently owned by GEO Group. When the city terminated its contract with ICE and GEO, the very next day ICE organized a deal directly with GEO, last June.

According to Desert Sun, “A September 2018 report from Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General found significant health and safety risks at Adelanto, including the issue of detainees hanging nooses made from bedsheets. At least three inmates have died at the facility since 2015 and seven inmates attempted suicide between December 2016 and October 2017.”

ICE criticizes California’s new law. 

ICE spokesperson Lori Haley claimed the only people that will suffer from the ban are California residents. 

“If this law takes effect, ICE would simply have to transfer individuals a greater distance from their arrest location to other facilities outside the state,” the agency said. “Thus, the impact would be felt by residents of California who would be forced to travel greater distances to visit friends and family in custody, and not by ICE.”

Advocates might say that convenience isn’t the issue at hand when it comes to for-profit detention centers. Nevertheless, Hamid Yazdan Panah, an immigration lawyer in the Bay Area claims that the rush to push through contracts might be evidence ICE has realized it won’t be too easy to transport migrants states and that they would actually have to detain fewer people, according to the LA Times. 

“They pick people up at certain points, have to process them and get them to a detention facility usually by evening,” he said. “The reality is they have a lot of protocols they have to go through and manpower considerations they have to deal with.”

For-profit immigration centers have got to go according to advocates. 

Over 70 percent of detained migrants are held in privately owned facilities, like GEO Group and CoreCivic. The Hill found that both organizations donated to Trump’s presidential campaign in 2017, then received $985 million in contracts with ICE. 

The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General found food safety issues, nooses, restrictive segregation practices, and unreported security incidents ran rampant at private detention centers, who are known to cut corners because they are businesses. Instead of holding the owners or managers of these facilities responsible with the usual financial penalties, the IG suggested ICE waived such fees and allowed the conditions to continue. 

“These twisted somersaults to push and bend federal protocols are a sign of desperation,” Bonta said. “It’s what you’d expect from a dying industry.”