Ocasio-Cortez: Trump detention centers 'exactly' like concentration camps

Detention centers holding undocumented immigrants on the southern border are "exactly" like concentration camps, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezMichelle Obama weighs in on Trump, 'Squad' feud: 'Not my America or your America. It's our America' Trump steps up attacks on 'Squad' Trump says he doesn't care if attacks on 'Squad' hurt him politically MORE (D-N.Y.) said in an Instagram Live video on Monday night.

The freshman lawmaker also said President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE is a fascist, underscoring her argument that what is happening in the United States has parallels to Nazi Germany and other fascist states.

“The U.S. is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are," the freshman lawmaker said. “If that doesn’t bother you ... I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something.

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“The fact that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the ‘Home of the Free’ is extraordinarily disturbing, and we need to do something about it,” she added.

Ocasio-Cortez said she wasn't trying to throw "bombs" by comparing the detention centers to concentration camps, which were used by the Nazis to hold Jews and other political prisoners and groups deemed by the government to be undesirable without trial under harsh conditions. The camps were an integral component of the Holocaust that killed 6 million Jews.

Ocasio-Cortez labeled the situation in the U.S. as “a crisis” over whether “America will remain America ... or if we are losing to an authoritarian and fascist presidency.”

“I don’t use those words lightly. I don’t use those words to just throw bombs. I use that word because that is what an administration that creates concentration camps is,” she said. “A presidency that creates concentration camps is fascist, and it’s very difficult to say that.”

The administration has been housing immigrant families that have illegally crossed the border at a number of detention centers, some of them set up at military bases.  

One location, the Fort Sill Army Base in Oklahoma, was also used during the Obama administration for migrant children.

Conditions at the centers have repeatedly come under criticism. In a recent report, the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general found “egregious” conditions at immigrant detention centers, including “unusable” bathrooms and expired food.

The U.S. has been dealing with record numbers of immigrants seeking to cross the border, many of them asking for asylum and seeking to escape violence in Central America. 

President Trump recently reached a deal with Mexico and Guatemala that is intended to ensure that more migrants stay in those two countries, rather than traveling further to the United States.

A story published Monday in The Washington Post citing preliminary federal numbers in May did find arrests falling.

Trump has shown little sign of shifting from his hard-line on border crossings.

In a tweet on Monday, he said Immigration and Customs Enforcement would soon start “removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States.”