Florida lawmakers blocked from entering Homestead facility holding 1,000 migrant children

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The Homestead compound for migrant children in 2016. - PHOTO VIA U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
  • Photo via U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • The Homestead compound for migrant children in 2016.
Florida lawmakers were blocked from entering a Homestead facility where federal immigration authorities are holding an estimated 1,000 undocumented migrant children.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and state Rep. Kionne McGhee were denied entry to the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children that was recently reopened under the Trump administration.



The Democratic senator said the private contractor running the facility initially told them they would be welcome to tour the housing compound. But representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services denied them access, saying they would need "two weeks notice" to allow them inside.

"That’s ridiculous and it’s clear this administration is hiding something," Nelson said on Twitter.




The Homestead facility was opened during the Obama administration to house unaccompanied migrant children who came to the U.S. without proper documentation.

But Nelson says he confirmed with HHS that the Trump administration is using the compound to house at least 94 children who have been forcefully separated from their undocumented families under the administration's new "zero-tolerance" policy. Nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their adult guardians between April 19 and the end of May, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

"The Trump administration’s actions today to block us from checking on these kids is inexcusable," Nelson said.

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