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Elizabeth Warren Promises To Visit Homestead Shelter Today Before First Debate

"I've got a plan." That's how Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren starts a lot of her sentences. It's also what many of her fans say resonates with them.

A national Economist/YouGov pollreleased this month shows the Massachusetts senator in second place , just behind former Vice President Joe Biden in popularity. And that was reflected Tuesday night in the thousands of South Floridians who showed up to see her on stage during a Miami-Dade County community town hall at Florida International University's Golden Panther Arena. 

Thousands showed up to Elizabeth Warren's community town hall at Florida International University on Tuesday, June 25, 2019.

In a battleground electoral state that could make or break her shot at the presidency, those who were lucky enough to find a seat also fired off questions that hit close to home. The first anonymous question: When was Warren going to visit the Homestead shelter for unaccompanied migrants?

"So, I'm going to Homestead tomorrow, come with me," Warren decided. Later Tuesday night, her campaign emailed out a plan to have free buses pick up anyone interested in joining her in protest outside the shelter.

Credit Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

This kind of rapid political organizing is what 10-year-old Gabrielle Bohager said she drove all the way from Vero Beach with her family to see Warren.

Credit Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN
Gabrielle Bohager, 10, listens to Senator Warren during the town hall at Florida International University on Tuesday, June 25, 2019.

Gabrielle came to ask Warren a question she had scribbled in her notebook about the Homestead shelter.

"I am 10, and when I see kids my age in cages it scares me," she read. "How will you help immigrant children who have been separated from their families reconnect with their families?" 

This comes only hours before 20 Democratic presidential candidates head into the first debates of the 2020 election cycle Wednesday and Thursday at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami. Warren will be on stage with the first 10 candidates Wednesday night.

Thousands showed up to Elizabeth Warren's community town hall at Florida International University on Tuesday, June 25, 2019.

A few other questions from the audience:

Q: My biggest concern is for the children who have traveled from violent countries, who have run for their lives to safety as refugees. Just 20 miles away in Homestead there is a children's prison — and I'm not going to call it a temporary internment facility. We need you there, we need your presence, to bring the press and to bring national attention. 

WARREN: It's been a year ago right now when we were first hearing about children separated from their parents at the border. I went down to McAllen, Texas, and visited these facilities. The one I went to — I want you all to picture this. It's like a giant Amazon warehouse. Only it smelled bad. And I walked in, and on the left were cages. A toilet back in the corner. Cage after cage of men. Cages so full people couldn't lie down. That's how tightly packed they were. And on the other side of the room, cage after cage of women. People who were frightened, people who didn't understand what had gone wrong.

And then I walked into the main part. And that's where the free-standing cages were. The big ones, full of little girls. Another cage over there full of little boys. And they had nothing. They were on concrete floors. They had aluminum foil blankets, and they were all just sitting. And right in the center was a guard tower so an adult could keep an eye on all these little girls and boys. 

This is a bad time in America's history. Our government is supposed to reflect our values. Our government is supposed to keep us safe. But a government that cannot tell the difference between the threat posed by a terrorist, a criminal and a little girl is not a government that is keeping us safe. And it is certainly not a government that reflects our values. 

Miami-Dade County has 2.3 million people. I come from a town in Illinois with 6,200 people. We rely on oil and brass, Shell Oil Refinery to keep our thousands of citizens employed. And Donald Trump brought back some of those people's great-paying jobs. What would you do for my fellow village-ites to bring back blue collar jobs? 

So I love this question. Let's talk about a plan. Here's what I want to start with. I want to think about manufacturing in America. And I want to think about big corporations. I come from a very patriotic family. All three of my brothers joined the military, my daddy flew the flag on every holiday. These were important things to us, and I believe Americans are patriotic. Giant multinational corporations are not patriotic. 

They're not. Because they have loyalty to exactly one thing. And that is profits. They'll tell you that — their principal job is to increase returns for their shareholders, that's it. And if that means they can save a nickel by moving a job overseas, you better believe they'll do it. Anyone who doesn't want to believe it just isn't looking at the evidence. That's part of what we've got going on.

Here's a second part:

We're in the middle of a climate crisis. Not just in our country, in our world. And we want to endorse the Green New Deal. But we've got to put some meat on the bone for that. Even if we get to net zero emissions by 2030, that only solves about 20 percent of the problem. The problem is worldwide. And the estimate is, there's a 23 trillion-dollar market over the next 10 years, in green products. Green manufacturing. Carbon capture. Clean water. My proposal is that we double-down on our research, development and investment in a green future. Anybody can use that innovation, but you've got to build it in the United States. That's about 1.2 million new manufacturing jobs right here. 

After all the endless wars, the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, would you go to war with Iran due to the recent events? 

No. Keep in mind when Donald Trump ran for office, he promised to bring all of our troops home. And now, he has created a crisis that has taken our country to the brink of war. He has not made us safer. He has made the United States more at-risk. He has made the Middle East more dangerous. He has made the entire world a more dangerous place. We need to create space for diplomacy, we need to work with our allies, and I think we need to admit that foreign policy by tweet is not working for us. 

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