Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Credits 'Concentration Camps' Comparison With Pushing CBP Chief to Resign and Bank of America to Stop Financing Detention: 'Words Matter'

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may have split public opinion when she branded migrant detention centers in the U.S. "concentration camps" last week, but on Wednesday, the Congresswoman appeared to credit the comparison with playing a role in bringing about major changes.

"Last week, we called the concentration camps at the border for what they are," Ocasio-Cortez said in a Twitter statement on Wednesday.

In the week since, Ocasio-Cortez noted, the acting director of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, John P. Sanders, has resigned.

Meanwhile, Bank of America, she said, "announced they will stop financing for-profit immigration detention and private prisons."

"Words matter," the New York representative said.

While Ocasio-Cortez did not credit her comments on having been the sole driver of major changes in the immigration arena, she did appear to suggest that calling immigration detention facilities what many academics have agreed they are—"concentration camps"—may have played a role.

In a statement on Thursday, Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Sanders would be resigning as acting CBP chief this week, with Mark Morgan, who is currently serving as the Acting Director of ICE, set to take his place.

"Mr. Morgan became the Acting Director in May of 2019 and quickly worked to advance the ICE mission of safeguarding the homeland through criminal and civil enforcement," McAleenan said, adding that now, "Mr. Morgan returns to CBP where he previously served as the Chief of U.S. Border Patrol."

"I am confident he will bring the same commitment to the agency as it continues to navigate the current humanitarian and operational crisis," McAleenan added.

Meanwhile, as Ocasio-Cortez noted, the Bank of America has announced it will be ending its association with companies that provide prisoner and immigrant detention services at the federal and state levels.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the bank said that while it appreciates "steps they have taken to properly execute their contractual and humanitarian responsibilities," the Bank of America would have to "exit the relationships" it has with such providers.

"Lacking further legal and policy clarity, and in recognition of the concerns of our employees and stakeholders in the communities we serve, it is our intention to exit these relationships," the spokesperson said, according to CNN.

While both developments took place after Ocasio-Cortez branded detention centers "concentration camps," sparking an international debate around migrant detention in the U.S., they also occurred as reports shone a light on the dire conditions detained migrant children have been forced to endure, including being deprived of adequate food, water and sanitation.

A report from The Associated Press published on Friday detailed how children were being forced to care for each other, in addition to not being given basic sanitary items, including soap and toothbrushes.

AOC
U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, speaks during a press conference to introduce college affordability legislation outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, June 24, 2019. The Congresswoman divided public opinion when equated U.S. immigration detention centers with 'concentration camps.' SAUL LOEB/AFP
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Credits 'Concentration Camps' Comparison With Pushing CBP Chief to Resign and Bank of America to Stop Financing Detention: 'Words Matter' | U.S.