House Democrats visit housing for migrant children

By Carmen Sesin

MIAMI – A delegation of House Democrats on Tuesday visited one of the country's largest settlements hosting unaccompanied migrant children – a visit that a representative called "cold."

The unaccompanied migrant homestead shelter, located approximately 25 km southwest of Miami, is under surveillance as it is the only one in the United States operated by a for-profit corporation and, as a settlement federal, it is not subject to state regulation.

Several Democratic lawmakers have called for the establishment of filtering facilities such as Homestead, citing the lack of supervision and the length of detention of children.

The delegation included representatives of Congress President Hispanic Caucus Joaquin Castro and Sylvia Garcia, both of Texas, and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalala, both of Florida.

From left to right, Representative Donna Shalala, D-FL, Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-FL, and Representative Sylvia Garc? A, D-TX, welcome people after visiting the Homestead Temporary Refuge for Unaccompanied Migrant Children, Homestead, Florida, February 19, 2019.Joe Raedle / Getty Images

"As a mother, it was very difficult to watch. It looks like a prison, "said Mucarsel-Powell.

The facility is located in his district and is operated by a private company for the Department of Health and Human Services.

"What I did not see – and this is a message for the Trump administration – I have not seen criminals, nor gang members. I've seen children who hoped that this country will welcome them, "said Mucarsel-Powell.

She spoke with a girl who had been in the institution for nine months after being separated from her aunt who was crossing the border.

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