Elizabeth Warren is headed to Homestead, Florida on Wednesday, a day before Beto O’Rourke was scheduled to make a trip to the Child Migration Detention Center there.
‘So I’m going to Homestead tomorrow, come with me,’ Warren told the crowd at her town hall in Miami Tuesday night when asked what she would do about the children being separated from their parents when crossing the border.
The Massachusetts Senator described the horrific and indecent scene she saw when visiting detention centers in McAllen, Texas last year when reports of immigrants being held in cages and family separations first came to the forefront of headlines.
She made the comments as graphic images of 25-year-old Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, a Salvadoran man, and his 23-month-old daughter lying face down, dead on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande.
Senator Elizabeth Warren said she will be visiting the Homestead Migrant Detention Center hours before she takes the debate stage 30 miles north in Miami Wednesday night
Warren’s impromptu announcement at a town hall in Miami Tuesday night comes after competitor Rep. Eric Swalwell (right) visited the center Monday and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (left) announced days earlier he would be visiting the site on Thursday morning
The Homestead shelter for unaccompanied children has become the center of attention as Democrats head to Florida for the first primary debates, and especially after a young father and his daughter died trying to cross illegally into the U.S.
The 21-year-old mother, and wife of Martinez, watched the events unfold as her husband and child attempted to cross the boder illegally by swimming across the river in Brownsville, Texas.
‘A government that can’t tell the difference between a threat posed by a terrorist, a criminal, and a little girl, is not a government that is keeping us safe,’ Warren told the crowd.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, who is also running in the 2020 primary race, blamed the incident on President Donald Trump.
‘We should not look away,’ Booker tweeted Tuesday night. ‘These are the consequences of Donald Trump’s inhumane and immoral immigration policy. This is being done in our name.’
Photos from the scene show the father’s black shirt hiked up to his chest with the girl’s head tucked inside. Her arm was draped around his neck suggesting she clung to him in her final moments.
Warren made the impromptu announcement that she would be making a stop at Homestead before appearing on the debate stage Wednesday night, telling the audience that they should join her.
The town hall was held the night before she’s set to take the stage at the first Democratic primary debates of the 2020 cycle – also being held in Miami – alongside nine other Democrats running in the party’s primary elections.
Senator and 2020 contender Cory Booker blamed President Trump for the death of the migrant father and his 23-month-old daughter who were attempting to cross by swimming across the Rio Grande
Booker says this happened because of Trump’s ‘inhumane’ immigration policies
A 21-year-old wife and mother watched her 25-year-old husband and young daughter died they attempting to cross into Brownsville, Texas by way of the river
The enthusiastic tone of the event was matched with the carnival-like atmosphere that has become a theme in the Massachusetts senator’s campaign rallies, complete with a ticket drawing for which audience member will ask the next question and call and response chants.
The town hall, held in the gymnasium at Florida International University, which was still set up from graduation, drew a crowd of upwards of 500 people. A person working for Warren’s advance team said based on the campaign’s rough estimate there were 1,300 people present.
The crowd filtered in while music blasted in the arena, including actor Will Smith’s song ‘Welcome to Miami,’ and women’s empowerment and fight anthems, ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ and ‘These Boots are Made for Walkin’.’
Throughout the town hall, the scoreboard read the time clock as 3:17, indicative of the date March 17, which is the day of Florida’s primary elections. The score was also tied at 20-20 and the team names were ‘WinWith’ and ‘Warren.’
The two-night primary debates, hosted by NBC News on Wednesday and Thursday, will feature 10 Democratic candidates each night, randomly selected for which stage they will appear.
Warren will participate in the first night of debates, going head-to-head with other high-profile candidates like Booker and O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman.
She will, however, miss out on being able to debate the two front-runners, former Vice President Joe Biden and Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
The Homestead center is about 30 minutes south of the debate stage, and O’Rourke already made plans days ago to visit Thursday morning. Warren’s last-minute announcement will have her coming out ahead of her Democratic rival in showing how much she cares about migrant minors.
Fellow 2020 contender Rep. Eric Swalwell also visited the center on Monday and met with protesters outside the facility.
‘We are looking into a camp, a camp of children cruelly confined here,’ he said when documenting the experience on his social media. ‘They don’t belong here. They belong with their families.’
Democrats have made a point of visiting the facility after Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who represents Florida, invited 2020 primary contenders to tour the shelter where 2,000 migrant children are being held.
Mucarsel-Powell, a Democrat, has previously been denied entry to the facility, but said she would accompany any candidates that want to take a look around.
Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez garnered national attention when she called centers holding migrants at the southern border ‘concentration camps’ during an Instagram live video.