January 5, 2019 12:56 am

Criminals, terrorists, 9-year-old girls: U.S. immigration should know the difference, Warren says

At an organizing event in Iowa, Senator Elizabeth Warren described how she visited a detention facility at the U.S. border. She said the U.S. needs an immigration system that can differentiate between criminals and "nine-year old girls."

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Elizabeth Warren has hit the hustings with a key message about immigration as she explores the possibility of seeking the Democratic nomination for president.

The United States immigration system should be able to look at criminals, terrorists and nine-year-old girls, and possess the ability to know the difference, she said.

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That’s what she told a group of supporters at an organizing event at McCoy’s Bar Patio and Grill in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Friday.

One audience member identified herself as a naturalized American citizen who came to the U.S. as a refugee.

She asked Warren about her plans to address refugee intakes, after U.S. President Donald Trump had obstructed their path into the country.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, addresses an overflow crowd outside an organizing event at McCoy’s Bar Patio and Grill in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Friday, Jan. 4, 2019.

AP Photo/Nati Harnik

Warren said the U.S. needs “comprehensive immigration reform” — especially after a bipartisan bill aimed at overhauling the system passed the Senate but was later voted down by Republicans in the House of Representatives, she noted.

She went on to tell of her visit to the southern border, where she saw detention camps holding migrants who had tried to cross into the United States from Mexico.

“I saw the children that had been taken away from their parents,” she said.

Warren compared a facility for women to an “Amazon warehouse that was dirty.”

“As you came in, there was a cage of women, another cage of women packed in, cages of men,” she related.

“And then you came into a bigger part, and there were big cages set out with little girls in them. Nine-year-old, 10-year-old, 12-year-old little girls, just in cages, and then there were cages full of little boys.”

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Warren then asserted that the U.S. needs an immigration system that can “understand the difference between the threat posed by criminals and terrorists and nine-year-old girls.”

“We need to be committed to a system that keeps us safe and a system that is consistent with our values, because it’s only when both of those are working together that America is truly strong.”

Warren hasn’t formally announced a bid for the Democratic nomination — that could come sometime early this year.

READ MORE: Elizabeth Warren makes first step toward 2020 presidential run

She could face stiff competition if she chooses to seek the nomination.

Names linked with a run for the Democratic nomination include former vice-president Joe Biden, former congressman and Texas senate candidate Beto O’Rourke and ex-Obama housing chief Julian Castro.

Former Maryland congressman John Delaney has formally announced that he’s seeking to run for president with the Democrats.

Warren’s potential candidacy comes months after she revealed DNA test results that showed she has a Native American segment in her ancestry.

That result came years after Warren said she was 1/32nd Cherokee while running for the Senate.

The test nevertheless drew a rebuke from the Cherokee Nation, which said she was “undermining tribal interests” by saying she had Indigenous heritage, The New York Times reported.

The newspaper went on to note that it is hard, even impossible, to calculate precisely who contributed to people’s genes.

Native Americans, the newspaper said, aren’t represented well in big genetic databases.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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