Democrat backs up Ocasio-Cortez: Migrant shelters 'are like concentration camps'

A top House Democrat backed up Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Memo: Bloomberg's 2020 moves draw ire from Democrats Sanders: Potential Bloomberg run shows 'arrogance of billionaires' Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez see 'class solidarity' in report Bezos asked Bloomberg to run MORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday after the freshman lawmaker drew backlash for comparing detention centers housing undocumented immigrants to “concentration camps.”

"These are like concentration camps. I’m not afraid to use that word because we are concentrating people, children, in one place in horrible, unacceptable conditions," Rep. Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyVeteran Chicago-area Democrat endorses Lipinksi challenger again Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems change drug pricing bill to address progressive concerns | Top Republican rejects Dem proposal on surprise medical bills | Vaping group launches Fox News ad blitz Hillicon Valley: FCC approves T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Dems wrangle over breaking up Big Tech at debate | Critics pounce as Facebook's Libra stumbles | Zuckerberg to be interviewed by Fox News | Twitter details rules for political figures' tweets MORE (D-Ill.) told Hill.TV during an appearance on “Rising.”

"If these children, if these individuals were prisoners of war we would be — the United States would be in violation of international law," she said, adding, "You can’t treat people like that."

Schakowsky, a senior chief deputy whip in House Democratic leadership, did not mention Ocasio-Cortez by name during the interview.

The New York Democrat's original remark earlier this month in which she said U.S. detention centers for migrants are "exactly" like "concentration camps" has continued to draw criticism.

A number of Republicans and Trump administration officials have blasted Ocasio-Cortez over the remark while some Jewish groups also took issue with the term, which is generally associated with the Holocaust.

“The regrettable use of Holocaust terminology to describe these contemporary concerns diminishes the evil intent of the Nazis to eradicate the Jewish people,” the nonpartisan Jewish Community Relations Council said in a statement last week.

The freshman lawmaker has repeatedly defended her use of the phrase, tweeting last week: “I will never apologize for calling these camps what they are. If that makes you uncomfortable, fight the camps - not the nomenclature."

In her interview Wednesday, Schakowsky addressed recent reports of unsanitary conditions and a lack of resources like food and soap at some facilities that are being used to house detained migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Tuesday that more than a 100 migrant children had been moved back to a controversial border station in Clint, Texas, near the border.

Attorneys who visited the facility had told The Associated Press that the children didn’t have enough food and had gone without a shower for days.

Multiple outlets citing the Department of Health and Human Services's Office of Refugee Resettlement reported that nearly 250 children held at the facility were expected to be moved to other shelters and facilities this week.

—Tess Bonn