Refugee Detention or Concentration Camps? Protests Begin

Last week, more news came out about abuses of refugees at detention camps.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came under fire for appropriately calling the “detention centers” concentration camps. She is historically correct.

Also, here is  testimony supporting a temporary restraining order from the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law.

I couldn’t agree more with AOC. Refugees are being abused physically and mentally. The numbers of deaths are slowly but steadily increasing and conditions seem to be rapidly deteriorating. Then these images emerged:

There is a thread of tweets from Avi Bueno that begins here decrying these for profit prisons. This one, in particular, pained me.

“…almost every night, the guards wake us at 3:00 AM and take away our sleeping mattresses and blankets. They leave babies, even little babies of two or three months, sleeping on the cold floor… I think the guards act this way to punish us. (Age 17, female)

— Avi Bueno (@Avi_Bueno) June 27, 2019

As it reminded me of stories from my mother about sleeping on the bare ground at Auschwitz and being rousted by 4 am for hours of roll calls. They, too, received a small piece of bologna and coarse bread for their daily ration.

Jonathan Katz has an excellent summary in the LA Times  which give notable history, including how these concentration camps came to be in the early 1930s in Germany, and long preceded them elsewhere in the 1800s. And Katz aptly warns, “That’s why this isn’t just a crisis facing immigrants. When a leader puts people in camps to stay in power, history shows that he doesn’t usually stop with the first group he detains.”

What can we do?

Vote and register others to vote. Run for local and state offices. And support protests.

One of the more encouraging things I’ve seen this past week is the “Never Again is Now” movement, with groups (mostly Jews) blocking ICE detention centers. Protests continue with Jews getting arrested to try to stop this abuse.

More protests are planned for July 12 nationally.

To follow these issues and protests in real time, follow #NeverAgainIsNow #DontLookAway and #Lights4Liberty. Events are listed at, or you can add your own. Even my own conservative community in Cumberland is planning a prayer vigil for the immigrants for that day.

Please continue to speak out and bear witness to this progressive authoritarianism and abuses. What is your community doing to stand up and be active bystanders?

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