Recently, Congresswoman Alexandra Octavio-Cortez described the centers used to detain apprehended immigrants, adults and children, as concentration camps. The New York Post reported:
”The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border and that is exactly what they are – they are concentration camps – and if that doesn’t bother you,” Ocasio-Cortez said as she throws up her hands.
”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 New York Democrat said in a Q&A posted on politicsnowadays’ Instagram page.
Sadly, but predictably, a firestorm of controversy has broken out. First, it has come from Jewish quarters that believe her statement to present a false equivalency and/or a trespass on sacred ground.
Second, other politicians have seized upon it to score points with constituencies, or potential constituencies.
I write here for neither reason. I am neither a supporter of the Congresswoman nor a detractor.
I write here because of the reality to which she points, far more important to me than the words she uses to direct our attention there. And, by far, certainly more important than her person and personality.From the perspective both of American law and general morality, the Trump administration has failed miserably.
From the perspective both of American law and general morality, the Trump administration has failed miserably. But responsibility does not lie solely with this government.
The reality is that, because of the failure of many U.S. governments to formulate an immigration policy – a failure of many years now, through control of the legislature and the presidency by both political parties – we have a significant problem with lots of refugees attempting to enter the country, through means both legal and illegal, at our border with Mexico.
And now we have the considerably more difficult problem of how to respond to them in a way that is both humane and respectful of American law.
Call them concentration camps; call them internment camps; call them holding cells; call them prisons. It really doesn’t matter.
What matters is this: when is our government going to get its act together to craft a policy – and procedure – that is acceptable to both parties and to a majority of Americans and then enforce it fairly, rapidly and with the respect and dignity for which our country stands and which those migrants deserve?
Bimheyra v’yamenu: amen. May it be speedily, in our own day. Amen.