Journalist Jonathan Katz is not alone in saying that we should call immigration detention “what they really are: concentration camps.”
Here are a few more voices in the growing chorus:
Don’t look away from concentration camps at the border
By NCR Editorial Staff
June 19, 2019
National Catholic Reporter
It's time to stop looking away and to start calling these "centers" or "facilities" what they really are: concentration camps.
A concentration camp involves "mass detention of civilians without trial," says the woman who literally wrote the book on the subject, Andrea Pitzer, author of One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps. […]
To those who balk that current U.S. immigrant detention centers are not like Auschwitz, genocide historians remind that not all concentration camps are extermination camps — and even the latter didn't start that way. Without diminishing the extreme horror of Nazi death camps, more and more commentators — not just Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez —are saying the "concentration camp" term fits in this contemporary case.
"Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz," Waitman Wade Beorn, a Holocaust and genocide studies historian and a lecturer at the University of Virginia, explained to Esquire. "Concentration camps in general have always been designed — at the most basic level — to separate one group of people from another group. Usually, because the majority group, or the creators of the camp, deem the people they're putting in it to be dangerous or undesirable in some way."
An Expert on Concentration Camps Says That's Exactly What the U.S. Is Running at the Border
"Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz."
BY JACK HOLMES
JUN 13, 2019
Not every concentration camp is a death camp—in fact, their primary purpose is rarely extermination, and never in the beginning. Often, much of the death and suffering is a result of insufficient resources, overcrowding, and deteriorating conditions. […]
The government of the United States would never call the sprawling network of facilities now in use across many states "concentration camps," of course. They’re referred to as "federal migrant shelters" or "temporary shelters for unaccompanied minors" or "detainment facilities" or the like. […] But by Pitzer's measure, the system at the southern border first set up by the Bill Clinton administration, built on by Barack Obama's government, and brought into extreme and perilous new territory by Donald Trump and his allies does qualify. Two historians who specialize in the area largely agree.
Many of the people housed in these facilities are not "illegal" immigrants. If you present yourself at the border seeking asylum, you have a legal right to a hearing under domestic and international law. They are, in another formulation, refugees—civilian non-combatants who have not committed a crime, and who say they are fleeing violence and persecution. Yet these human beings […] are being detained on what increasingly seems to be an indefinite basis.
AOC was right to compare Trump's border internment camps to concentration camps
We're debating the description of forced extrajudicial detainment of a rhetorically demonized racial minority in harsh, punitive conditions.
By Andi Zeisler
June 19, 2019, 12:14 PM MDT
NBC News Opinion
...it’s not that surprising to see American politicians and pundits grasp at small semantic differences in terminology that describes forced extrajudicial detainment of a rhetorically demonized racial minority in harsh, punitive conditions. [...]
The national belief in exceptionalism and the corporate media’s thirst for access, scoops and clicks has given our border zone concentration camps that most American of things: A rebrand. [...] Of course we'll call child internment camps anything but concentration camps.
Five migrant children have died since December in detention facilities described by politicians, legal advocates and human rights organizations as being overcrowded and unsanitary, with meager food and extreme temperatures. Those who spend time parsing whether conditions in these places — which are, it’s worth repeating, for civil rather than criminal custody — are bad enough to qualify as concentration camps and berating anyone who dares to describe them accurately, are more concerned with sparing the feelings of those perpetuating the acts in question than they seem to be with the acts themselves.