Senator Nelson denied entry to tour child migrant detention facility in Florida
1:12 PM, Jun 19, 2018
4:22 PM, Jun 19, 2018
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) — On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson was denied entry to tour a reopened Miami-area facility for children who entered the U.S. illegally and alone.
Just learned from HHS that there are 94 children in the Homestead, Florida facility who were separated from their families. The Trump administration’s actions today to block us from checking on these kids is inexcusable.
Another Florida Democrat, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, confirmed the facility’s use during an event Monday. But it was unclear how long the facility, known as the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children, had been open, or whether it’s housing children who came without their parents or those who’ve been separated from their parents by U.S. authorities.
HHS just blocked us from entering its facility in Homestead, Florida to check on the welfare of the children being held here. They are obviously hiding something, and we are going to get to the bottom of this. pic.twitter.com/q4m6Zd0ck2
The administration’s action today to deny us access to their Homestead, Florida facility where they are holding 1,000 migrant children is against EVERYTHING that we as a country stand for. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. pic.twitter.com/Zv8Py0f3M8
The 1,000-bed facility is overseen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Department spokesman Kenneth Wolfe said in an email Monday that it had reopened as “a temporary unaccompanied alien children program facility.” He did not provide additional details.
Several dozen children could be seen Tuesday morning playing soccer outside the building behind a chain link fence, mostly talking and shouting to each other in Spanish. Some did cartwheel flips while running across the field.
Reporters were not allowed onto the property. Security officials would not let reporters near the facility or provide details on conditions inside.
Martin Levine, from the Miami suburb of West Kendall, came to the facility with a sign showing a Nazi guard pulling a child away from a woman with a Jewish star, and saying “Nazis took children away. Trump inhumane.”
Levine said he believed the policy to separate families was immoral.
“This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, because all of the former first ladies have found this policy despicable,” Levine said.
Republican lawmakers from Miami-Dade County have condemned the policy of separating families crossing the U.S. border.
Florida’s other senator, Republican Marco Rubio, said in a tweet Tuesday, “Let’s change the law so we can hold families together while awaiting expedited hearings.”