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Sen. Warren on Mollie Tibbets Murder: Let’s Tackle ‘Real Problems’ Like Family Separation

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D, Mass.) delivers a major policy speech on “Ending corruption in Washington” at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C., August 21, 2018. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts suggested that preventing family separation at the border should be a more pressing concern than preventing illegal immigrants from committing violent crimes during a Wednesday appearance on CNN.

After recounting the story of Mollie Tibbetts, a 20-year-old University of Iowa student who was allegedly murdered by an illegal immigrant, CNN host John Berman asked Warren if she agreed that the tragedy exemplified the need for more effective immigration enforcement.

“Mike Pence and the president have suggested the immigration laws need to be stronger so that people like this man who is accused of this murder were not in the country,” Berman offered. “Your reaction?”

“One of the things we have to remember is we need an immigration system that is effective, that focuses on where real problems are,” Warren said. “Last month, I went down to the border and I saw where children had been taken away from their mothers, I met with their mothers who had been lied to, who didn’t know where their children were, who hadn’t have a chance to talk to their children, and there was no plan for how they would be reunified with their children.”

“I think we need immigration laws that focus on people who pose a real threat and I don’t think mamas and babies are the place we should be spending our resources,” Warren continued. “Separating a mama from a baby does not make this country safer.”

Tibbetts’s body was found in an Iowa cornfield on Tuesday following an extensive search. The psychology undergraduate disappeared on July 18 after leaving her boyfriend’s house in the small town of Brooklyn, Iowa, to go for a jog.

Cristhian Bahena Rivera, a 24-year-old undocumented Mexican immigrant, has been charged with first-degree murder in the case. Rivera, who claims he blacked out after following Tibbetts during her jog, led police to the body after they identified him on surveillance tape.

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