(CNSNews.com) - What will you do to control the influx of migrants? a woman asked Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) at a CNN town hall in Jackson, Miss. Monday night.
Warren did not directly answer that question until later, when she was reminded of it by moderator Jake Tapper. Instead she started talking about mothers and babies and cages, asking her audience to imagine "a big, old Amazon warehouse," only dirty and smelly.
A short time later, reminded of the "specific question" -- what will you do to control the influx of migrants? -- Warren responded, "If we want to stop the problem of mommas fleeing for their lives, then let's make a little more investment in the areas that are troubled, and let's help people be able to stay where they are safely."
Here is Warren's full response to the question on controlling the influx of migrants:
"We need to have policies on immigration that are consistent with our values," she started out.
We are a country that is built on our differences. That is our strength. Not our weakness. And when people come to the United States because they are fleeing terror in Central America, they fear for their lives, then we have a moral responsibility to listen. (Applause) And to be there.
You know, if I can just take a minute to say on this one -- I went down to the border last year when the word first began to come out about children taken away from their mothers. And I just want you all to envision this. Think of a big old Amazon warehouse, only dirty and smelled bad.
And when I walked in on my left were cages, maybe 10 feet wide, 40 feet deep, a toilet back in the corner. One after another after another crammed full of men. On the right, one after another after another crammed full of women. And then you walk into the main area, and there were cages about the size of the central area here, with nothing but little girls in it. And over there, nothing but little boys.
That's not who we are. That is not the country we want to be. And an immigration system that is administered so that it is not able to tell the difference between a criminal, a terrorist and a 12-year-old little girl is an immigration system that not only is not keeping us safer, it does not reflect our values. (More applause)
“I will not support the building of a wall that does not make us safer," Warren said, winding up. "The kind that is proposed now is a monument to hate and division. We are a better country than that," she said to a third round of applause.
At this point, Tapper reminded Warren that the "specific question" was "what will you put in place to control the influx of migrants."
"So, and I should hit both of those, you're exactly right," Warren told Tapper.
"One thing we can do is remember is remember all the tools in the tool box, and that is, when there's a problem in Central America, because the gangs have taken over, because the local officials can't manage, then that's not a point at which we should be cutting our aid.
"If we want to stop the problem of mommas fleeing for their lives then let's make a little more investment in the areas that are troubled and let's help people be able to stay where they are safely. That's a much kinder way to do it."
Three months ago, under the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America, the United States announced it is committing $5.8 billion through public and private investment to promote institutional reforms and development in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
The Obama Administration launched the strategy following a surge in apprehensions of unaccompanied alien children in 2014, and the Trump Administration largely
has left the strategy in place, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) reported this past January.
CRS also reported that it is "too early to assess the full impact of recent U.S. efforts because implementation did not begin until 2017 for many of the programs funded under the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America.
"Nevertheless, the Northern Triangle countries, with U.S. support, have made some tentative progress. For example, they have implemented some policy changes that have
contributed to economic stability. At the same time, living conditions have yet to improve for many residents because the Northern Triangle governments have not invested in effective poverty-reduction programs.
Security conditions also have improved in some respects, as homicide rates have declined for three consecutive years. Still, many Northern Triangle residents continue to feel insecure, and the percentage of individuals reporting they were victims of crime increased in all three nations between 2014 and 2017.