Alexandria Ocasio Cortez has been speaking out against the detention facilities for illegal immigrants on the southern border. She prefers to call them “concentration camps”. Even if that is an accurate description, it conjures images of Nazi Germany. That isn’t an accurate description. Hence, the statement is at least misleading. However, we’re going to look and see if it’s technically correct.
Britannica defines “Concentration Camp” as follows.
Concentration camp, internment centre for political prisoners and members of national or minority groups who are confined for reasons of state security, exploitation, or punishment, usually by executive decree or military order. Persons are placed in such camps often on the basis of identification with a particular ethnic or political group rather than as individuals and without benefit either of indictment or fair trial.
Everything was going well for her, until that last sentence. However, one could argue that it’s extraordinary for such a minor indictment to result in pre-trial detention with denial of bail. Thus, she has some wiggle room. However, the next two sentences completely destroy her claim.
Concentration camps are to be distinguished from prisons interning persons lawfully convicted of civil crimes and from prisoner-of-war camps in which captured military personnel are held under the laws of war. They are also to be distinguished from refugee camps or detention and relocation centres for the temporary accommodation of large numbers of displaced persons.
They are to be distinguished from detention and relocation facilities. The detention facilities on the southern border are not Concentration Camps.
These statements by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are very similar to some statements by President Trump. However, his go the other way. The President likes to call the illegal immigration an “invasion”. Again, this is an inaccurate and misleading statement.
Both individuals are attempting to do the same thing. They’re using false and misleading language to paint a negative image of the thing they oppose. It is up to us to see past that.
Concentration Camps and Invasions are unnecessary terms.
There are clear abuses happening at the detention facilities on the southern border. Furthermore, illegal immigration has a negative impact on our country. By using false and misleading language, both individuals give their opposition the opportunity to dismiss the criticisms without discussing the real issues.
By learning to discuss the issues using honest language that accurately depicts the situation, we can eliminate these easy dismissals by those who oppose us. I wonder if the folks who use this type of language honestly want to fix the problem, or if they simply prefer to own the issue.