Utah Newspaper Says U.S. Is Running 'Concentration Camps For Refugee Children'

"We need to stop denying that and decide if we are comfortable with that fact. And how we will explain it to our children," wrote The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board.

A moving editorial published Sunday in The Salt Lake Tribune argues that the U.S. government is holding immigrants ― including children — in concentration camps. 

“Our nation is operating concentration camps for refugee children,” the paper’s editorial board wrote. “We need to stop denying that and decide if we are comfortable with that fact. And how we will explain it to our children.”

The editorial was published days after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) received backlash for characterizing the detention centers for immigrants as “concentration camps.”

The situations in World War II Germany and modern-day America are “not morally equivalent,” the Tribune editorial notes. “And we probably don’t have reason to fear that this is necessarily going to become that. But then, we never do. Because that starts as this.”

It goes on to lay out some parallels between the precursors of what occurred in Nazi Germany and what is happening in the U.S. now. 

“It worked its way up, from nasty political speeches (check) to politicians seeking and gaining power with promises to protect the purity of the nation from foreign invasion (check) to denying basic human rights and decency to people of an unfavored class (check),” the editorial reads. 

Conditions at the centers appear to be deteriorating. Six migrant children have died in U.S. custody, and four seriously ill toddlers were rushed from a Texas facility to a local hospital last week. 

A Department of Justice attorney argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit last week that the government should not be required to provide soap, toothbrushes or beds for the detained children. Vice President Mike Pence indicated Sunday on CNN that the U.S. can’t afford soap for the children because of an ongoing “appropriations process” with Democrats.

“Good, caring, moral Utahns, and their elected representatives, should be shouting bloody murder over this extended and deliberate abuse of human rights,” the Tribune editors wrote.

They specifically called out Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), saying his response to the issue was “kind of like bringing a roll of paper towels to a hurricane.” The senator introduced a bill to boost the use of the “E-Verify” system for employers to check if their immigrant workers are documented.

Read the full Tribune editorial here.