Jason Hopkins on November 20, 2019
During Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she is willing to spend taxpayer money to remove parts of the southern border wall built under the Trump administration.
Warren — who once called President Donald Trump’s border wall a monument to “hate and division” — was asked by a debate moderator if she would ask taxpayers to foot the bill to remove sections of wall between the U.S. and Mexico. In response, the progressive said she was open to the idea, and said the immigration crisis was “man-made.”
“If there are parts of the wall that are not useful in our defense, of course we should do it,” the Massachusetts lawmaker said Wednesday. “The real point here is that we need to stop this man-made crisis at the border. Trump is the one who has created this crisis, and he has done it in no small part by helping destabilize the governments even further in Central America.”
“He has withdrawn aid. That means that families have to flee for their lives, have to flee for any economic opportunity,” Warren continued.
Warren has increasingly shifted left on immigration since launching her candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. The Massachusetts senator said in June that she supported decriminalizing illegal immigration — an act that is a federal misdemeanor for first-time offenders and a federal felony for repeat offenders. During a Latino-centered event earlier in November, she said she was open to the idea of putting a moratorium on deportations altogether.
Warren went on during the Wednesday debate to describe a time she visited a detention center on the southern border.
“You know, when I found out our government was actually taking away children from their families, I went down to the border. I went down there immediately,” she said. “I just hope everyone remembers what this looks like. There’s like a giant Amazon warehouse filled with cages of women, cages of men, and cages of little girls and little boys.”
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At this point in her description, her voice appeared to break as she spoke about the personal story of a woman who was forced to flee her country.
“I spoke to a woman who was in the cage of nursing mothers, and she told me she’d given a drink to a police officer and that the word had come down from the gangs that she was helping the police. She knew what that meant. She wrapped up her baby and she ran for the border. We need to treat the people who come here with dignity and with respect,” she said.
“A great nation does not separate children from their families. We need to live our values at the border every single day,” Warren continued.
The completion of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico has been Trump’s most coveted campaign issue since entering politics. Since he entered the White House, his administration has built roughly 76 miles of new barriers, and aims to build well over 400 miles by the close of 2020.
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