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The New York State Senate Did Not Pass a Concentration Camp Bill

Maxim Sorokopud Maxim Sorokopud
21st April 2021
The New York State Senate Did Not Pass a Concentration Camp Bill
The bill was meant to address dangers to public health (Getty Images).

The Claim

The New York State Government has used coronavirus as an excuse to pass a concentration camp bill.

Emerging story

In January 2021, a New York State Government bill, Assembly Bill A416, entered the New York State Legislature. The bill presented the notion of removing “cases, contacts and carriers of communicable diseases that are potentially dangerous to the public health." Lawmakers criticized this bill as unconstitutional, with Assemblyman Steve Hawley claiming it would infringe upon personal liberty. 

In April 2021, some users on social media and on conspiracy theory websites gave the bill greater attention. These sources claimed that the bill had passed the state senate, would create concentration camps, and would allow the state government to force people into these camps. 

These tweets soon gained hundreds of likes and retweets. The articles gained tens of thousands of views. 

A supporting image within the article body
A supporting image within the article body
A supporting image within the article body

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar’s investigation has concluded that Assembly Bill A416 will not create concentration camps. A concentration camp, which evokes Nazi imagery, is defined as “a place where large numbers of people (such as prisoners of war, political prisoners, refugees, or the members of an ethnic or religious minority) are detained or confined under armed guard.” 

Instead, the bill would amend the state’s public health law. It would allow the governor or his or her delegate to remove or detain individuals who were threats to public health in the event of a state of emergency because of the occurrence of a communicable disease.

The detained individuals would not be placed in camps under these laws. Instead, they would be detained in a medical facility or other appropriate location. Additionally, the detainment would only come into effect if less restrictive alternatives, “were attempted and were unsuccessful.”   

Perhaps most importantly, this law would not allow for anyone to be indefinitely detained. Instead, it states that people could not be detained once they were no longer contagious or were determined to not have been contagious to begin with. 

According to the New York State Senate, the current iteration of the bill is “in Committee.” This means that the claims that the senate has passed this bill are incorrect. One New York News outlet has also stated that the bill is unlikely to become law. 

The bill makes it clear that it is to be used only under states of emergency and only when less restrictive solutions are not being followed by the detainees. Essentially, its intention is to treat people infected with contagious diseases who refuse to self isolate in a similar manner to people who are drunk and disorderly.  

Stating that this bill would create concentration camps is inaccurate. The bill clearly states that the individuals being detained are not being persecuted for political or ethnic reasons but due to their contagiousness and their refusal to self-isolate under such circumstances. Additionally, the bill states that the individuals must be released once they are no longer contagious, further removing it from the “concentration camp” label.

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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