Warren Was All For Housing Immigrant Kids On Military Bases When Obama Was President [VIDEO]
Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren once encouraged her home state to house unaccompanied immigrant children on military bases in 2014, but she decries the Trump administration’s use of detention centers.
During the surge of children crossing the southern border illegally in 2014 and 2015, Warren and fellow Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey endorsed former Gov. Duval Patrick’s offer to house the unaccompanied minors at military bases.
“These kids are at real risk and we need to do everything we can to make sure they are not harmed or in danger,” Warren said in 2014, according to MassLive. “I agree with Pope Francis that this is a humanitarian crisis, and I believe every state that can help, should help.”
The Obama administration eventually housed several thousand migrants at military bases across the country in 2014, The Washington Post reported, but Massachusetts military installations were not needed during that crisis. The administration further considered Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts to house migrants in 2016. (RELATED: Migrant Children Released To Sponsors Without Background Checks Under Obama)
In a letter to President Donald Trump on June 13, Warren and 39 other senators urged the administration to end the practice of separating families who crossed the border illegally, noting that it could lead to sending children to military bases.
“We are writing to ask that you reverse course on your inhumane decision to separate children from their parents at the border,” Warren and other senators wrote in the letter to Trump, before he announced his plan to house immigrant families together at military bases. “This policy has traumatized children who are fleeing extreme violence. Our government has a humanitarian duty to the children and families seeking asylum in the United States to end this policy immediately.”
The senators wrote that removing children should be done if the child was in danger, and warned that doing so might lead to housing immigrants on military bases.
“Best practices in child welfare promote keeping children and their parents together unless removal is in the child’s best interest,” the letter said. “Unnecessarily separating more children from their parents will further exacerbate the lack of home-based foster care placements available and increase the use of large-capacity institutional settings, such as abandoned military bases, to house these children.”
The Keeping Families Together Act, proposed legislation from Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner and cosponsored by Warren on June 13, states that “in general, there is a presumption that detention is not in the best interests of families and children.” In their letter, the senators argued that the “community-based alternatives to detention, like intensive case management and referrals to social services and legal resources” have been proven to “increase the likelihood that immigrants appear at court proceedings.”
Warren visited the Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, Saturday, to inspect the conditions of children held there. The center was opened during the 2014 minor surge, and is run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In an emotional press gaggle outside the center, Warren described seeing the children sleeping on floors at the center in cages.
At UAC holding center, @SenWarren says a woman from El Salvador “explained she had given a drink do water to the police and now the gangs believe that she is helping the police so she sold everything that she has and she and her 4-yr-old fled the country.” #BorderCrisis pic.twitter.com/BucJbeBE5i
— Anna Giaritelli (@Anna_Giaritelli) June 25, 2018
“And they’re all on the concrete floors in cages. There’s just no other way to describe it. They’re big, chain-link cages on cold concrete floors and metal blankets handed out to the people,” Warren said. “The question we asked many of them … Were they glad they cam?. And for all of them it brought smiles. And they said, ‘Yes, I am here in America.'”
“It’s a disturbing picture,” Warren said.
The Pentagon announced Sunday that it is considering two military bases for temporary housing of migrant families. Warren’s office did not immediately return The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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