For years, Miami-Dade County was represented by three moderate Republican Cuban-American members of Congress – Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Carlos Curbelo, and Mario Diaz-Balart.
After the 2018 mid-term elections, the changing of the congressional guard in Miami-Dade County had occurred.
Diaz-Balart is still in office, but Ros-Lehtinen retired and replaced by Rep. Donna Shalala (R), and Curbelo was defeated by Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) in 2018.
This new crop of Democrats is making a name for themselves and using their new position of power to push back against the Trump administration.
After visiting the Homestead Temporary Shelter, the facility where illegal immigrant children are being held, Reps. Donna Shalala (pictured-R)Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (pictured -L), have called for the controversial facility to be closed.
It is important to note that these members have been denied access to the facility when they decided to drop by the facility without warning.
According to a joint press release, the three House members want the children send to “smaller facilities” that are managed by non-profit groups they believe are “better equipped to care” for the children, and able to “transition” them to “family or sponsors” at a quicker pace.
The reason why the three legislators are calling for the HTS shutdown is due to court documents that “detail descriptions of psychologically isolating, “prison-like” conditions the children endure at Homestead.”
“The Homestead child detention facility has come to symbolize everything that is wrong with the Trump Administration. Reports of dangerous and scarring conditions are becoming too common. As of June 1, the 2019 hurricane season has begun, and neither the Administration nor the company operating the facility has a hurricane evacuation plan in place.
“When I first visited the facility, I was shocked and heartbroken at the prison-like conditions children are being detained in. Sadly, those conditions have only worsened as they continue to cram more children into already-limited spaces. It’s time the Administration begin taking the necessary steps to relocate the children who are fleeing violence and poverty to safe environments where they can prosper and begin living the American Dream – not the nightmare manufactured by a corrupt, greedy, and heartless Administration. The Homestead child facility must be shut down, so we can restore our country’s values of being a refuge for immigrants,” said Rep. Mucarsel-Powell.
“When I first toured the Homestead shelter in February, I was deeply disturbed by what I saw: hundreds and hundreds of children crammed into a prison-like facilities with inadequate resources. When my colleagues and I tried to follow-up with a visit in April, we were denied access to the shelter, and therefore prevented from exercising our constitutional obligation to conduct oversight.
After reviewing the court document, I think it’s time to take steps toward closing the Homestead facility and transferring these unaccompanied children to smaller shelters operated and overseen by experienced non-profit groups that have welcomed immigrants for years. The officials overseeing the shelter have clearly demonstrated that they do not have the skill or the understanding to properly care for these children and move them more quickly to family members or sponsors,” said Rep. Shalala.
“It’s time to shutter the so-called ‘temporary emergency’ Homestead detention center. The ever-expanding numbers and lengths of stay there are neither temporary nor emergent. The Trump administration must finally provide these young people with humane living conditions that treat them with dignity, ensure basic human rights, and provide comprehensive support and services.
The latest court documents detail heartbreaking conditions that hundreds of children endure there every day. This must come to a quick and sensible end, one that prioritizes the welfare of these young people. Coupled with the denial of basic oversight, prolonged stays, and contract and conflict concerns tied to the for-profit operators, it is time for swift action to connect these young people with eligible sponsors, or move them into non-restrictive, licensed community-based residential facilities,” said Rep. Wasserman Schultz.