Joe Biden left Miami the morning after his hard-pounded debate, while Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg and several other Democratic candidates met on Friday to visit a children's home in Homestead and ask for closure.
& # 39; You see it here, a lot of people who have fought in the last few days, but are absolutely on the same side and united, & # 39; Buttigieg said about their visit.
The group – including Kirsten Gillibrand, Julian Castro and John Hickenlooper – was denied access to the facility, which houses 2,700 migrant children, separated from their families.
John Hickenlooper, Kirsten Gillibrand, Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris were denied access to the Homestead Shelter for unaccompanied children
Pete Buttigieg, seen with Julian Castro and Kirsten Gillibrand, said the candidates were united in wanting to close the hideout
& # 39; I am a member of the home security committee, & # 39; Harris said to the guard at the gate, noting that the Senate Panel had jurisdiction over the facility.
The gang of five was the last in a long line of Democratic contenders to visit the Homestead Shelter for unaccompanied minors.
With all in Miami – just 30 minutes north of the facility – for the debates, many of them made the trip down to see the asylum and criticize Donald Trump's immigration policy, which was back in the news after a photo of a drowned person Salvadoran father and daughter trying to cross the Rio Grande went viral.
Biden was the only noticeable no-show among Democrats when it came to visiting Homestead. Cory Booker did not visit either.
The former vice president went to Chicago on Friday morning for his planned speech for Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition.
Biden will launch the Rainbow PUSH Coalition International Convention Jackson. It gives him the opportunity to speak with influential African-American activists after Harris has clinched him for his attitude toward the busing and praise of segregationist senators in Thursday's debate.
Joe Biden left Miami on Friday morning after his highly anticipated debate performance
Biden will address the Rainbow coalition of Jesse Jackson in Chicago on Friday afternoon
Meanwhile, Harris, Buttigieg, Castro, Gillibrand and Hickenlooper were admitted to the childcare center lobby on Friday afternoons, but no further inside to see the circumstances in which the children are being held.
But they made the most of their time outside the walls of the facility, talked to immigrants who shared their story, greeted children of immigrants, and thanked the protesters who called for the facility to be closed.
The contenders also climbed step ladders to wave at the children who were held on the other side of the fence. The children are only left outside for an hour a day, but the children – who wear striking orange hats – can move between the buildings.
The candidates waved signs, including red hearts, to show their support and shouted encouraging words.
Kirsten Gillibrand calls words of encouragement to the children behind the fence
Kamala Harris waves at the children being held at the facility
Harris comforts Lily, whose husband was deported
Harris accused the board of committing & # 39; human rights violations & # 39; running such centers.
& # 39; Let's be clear about what's happening here. There are people who literally benefit from the detention of children. Let's think about that. There are people who benefit from the detention of children, & # 39; said the California senator.
Gillibrand reiterated that it concerned the children who lived in the facility.
& # 39; This is about children. “I can't tell you how angry it makes me if you catch a child and deny them the time they need to play outside of the time they need to live with loved ones as family members,” she said.
The New York senator described the facility as a & # 39; prison & # 39 ;. She scolded the president and the Republican party for not closing the Homestead hiding place.
& # 39; What will it take before President Trump has an ounce of sympathy? What does it take for the Republican party to have an inch of backbone? I can't tell you because we didn't see it, & she said.
Buttigieg argued that they have the right to see inside the facility financed by the taxpayer.
& # 39; You and I have paid for this place, & # 39; he said to the crowd, cheering his words. & # 39; What is being done in that building happens in our name and with our money. And it's wrong. It is wrong. & # 39;
Castro accused the administration of hiding something.
Harris spent several moments talking to the demonstrators
Julian Castro accused the board of hiding something
John Hickenlooper is looking through binoculars over the fence of the shelter
Kamala Harris accused the Trump government of human rights violations
& # 39; We are blocked today by an administration and a private contractor who does not want us to see what is happening behind those walls. And you wonder what the hell they are hiding, & he said.
Harris took the lead in greeting the protesters, and came out of her strong debate on Thursday night. She hugged people and offered a certain comfort to one woman, Lily, whose husband had recently left.
The California senator took her by the hand and said to her: & You are not alone. You are not alone. We're going to fight for your rights, & she said. & # 39; Because families belong together. & # 39;
Buttigieg, who speaks seven languages, spoke with two little girls in Spanish. He also spoke to the crowd in Spanish.
The candidates arrived separately but met at the facility to try inside.
Buttigieg congratulated Harris on her debate performance.
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who represents the Homestead district, lives in, invited the 2020 contenders to visit them and led them on a tour.
Marianne Williamson arrived at the location while the other Democratic contenders completed their tour. She also greeted the demonstrators and climbed a ladder to give a sign of support to the children who were kept on the other side of the fence.
Elizabeth Warren, Beto R & Rourke, Bill de Blasio, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar and Eric Swalwell have all been stopped by the Homestead facility this week.
Everyone did not have access to the facility, but used the visit to emphasize the existence of the center, to follow their immigration policy and to support the demonstrators.
O & # 39; Rourke, who was visiting on Thursday, stood on a ladder across the street from the center, so that he saw some children moving between buildings.
He screamed & # 39; we love you, & # 39; and other encouraging words in Spanish for the teenagers.
Harris and Gilibrand join protesters and wave the fence
Bernie Sanders (left) and Beto O & Rourke (right) visited the Homestead migration detention facility on Thursday morning. They were the fifth and sixth candidates to make the stop
O & # 39; Rourke visited the center the morning after he entered the stage during the first night of the first democrat debates
The facility has become a popular stop for candidates in Florida for the debates
Sanders appeared on the site about an hour before O & # 39; Rourke, spoke briefly with some demonstrators and media, and then entered the lobby.
& # 39; Hello, I am Senator Bernie Sanders, how are you? & # 39; he said to the staff at the gate. He too was not allowed access to the facility.
Jane Sanders, the wife of the senator, who also visited Homestead on Tuesday, said her husband's first executive order would be to end the detention centers for migrants.
Facility staff said that lawmakers would be able to get a tour with the correct paperwork submitted through a formal request.
O & Rourke said that this is not good enough, and that lawmakers in such facilities as those in Homestead can come without any notice.
He said that if he were to become president, his plan would ensure that federal funding associated with these facilities would depend on transparency. & # 39;
Elizabeth Warren gathered with protesters on Wednesday at the Homestead children's home
Amy Klobuchar met protesters outside the shelter on Wednesday
Homestead accommodation for unaccompanied children has become the center of attention, while Democrats go to Florida for the first primary debates, and especially after a young father and his daughter died trying to illegally cross the United States
& # 39; That you don't have to notify the operators – the for-profit operators – two days in advance, or cancel a week, & # 39; Beto told reporters and demonstrators gathered at Homestead. & # 39; As a member of Congress, you can turn up unannounced to ensure that there is real accountability and transparency for the way these shelters are managed. & # 39;
Elizabeth Warren visited the center Wednesday morning prior to her debating band to talk to protesters who demand that it be closed.
& # 39; We are better people than this, & # 39; she said.
The senator from Massachusetts stood on a ladder with Summit, the 8-year-old daughter of a protester from Homestead, and waved to children who could be seen between different buildings behind the fence of the shelter.
Summit told Warren that the teenager in the facility can only play outside for one hour at a time and is not allowed to cuddle.
The children being held in the temporary storage facility, some for several tens of days, wear fluorescent orange hats and can be seen from ladders across the street if they are accompanied in groups of less than ten.
Warren made it a point during her visit to the center to talk to children who attended the demonstrations with their parents.
Amy Klobuchar also visited the center on Wednesday afternoon before participating in the Democratic presidential debate that evening.
Rep. Eric Swalwell went on Monday.
& # 39; We are looking at a camp, a camp with children that is cruelly locked up here & # 39 ;, Swalwell said as he documented the experience on his social media. & # 39; They don't belong here. They belong to their family. & # 39;
The Homestead Center – where almost 2,500 migrant children can be detained without their parents and is the largest detention center for children in the country – is approximately 30 minutes south of the debate stage.
Homestead Shelter for unaccompanied children
Suitable for 2,350 children
It is the only youth center for migrants who are exploited for profit
The Homestead contract with the Ministry of Health and Human Services is worth up to $ 220 million
It was opened during the Obama administration, closed briefly and reopened in March 2018 amid a wave of illegal border crossings
Children between the ages of 13 and 17 stay in the reception center, which was opened during the Obama administration, closed shortly and reopened in March 2018 amid a wave of migrants crossing the border.
Border Patrol reported in January that more than 5,000 & # 39; unaccompanied alien children & # 39; were held at the border. Most are sent to the Homestead Shelter for unaccompanied children or similar facilities throughout the country.
The shelter has stopped admitting journalists and visitors. Protesters are a regular presence outside the gates and require it to be closed.
Melissa Taveras, media strategist for the Florida Immigration Coalition, said that teenagers in the facility are usually transported there and held for a few days while filling in paperwork, such as visas or green cards, so that they can legally reside in the US.
She says, however, that they are arguing for the possibility of being closed and that these people have the opportunity to go through this process while being with a family that in some cases is just a few miles from the center.
& # 39; What happens to a zero tolerance policy, & # 39; said Taveras, referring to Trump's immigration policy, & # 39; what those immigrants were criminalized. So with this criminalization the detentions started. & # 39;
Critics call it a prison camp or an internment camp.
HHS officials said the average stay is 36 days.
But the submission of court documents – based on a guided tour through the shelter lawyers that was conducted in March – paints a different picture.
It describes & # 39; prison-like & # 39; rules whereby children can only talk to family members on the phone for 10 minutes twice a week; showers are limited to five; the meal is 15 minutes. Children are not allowed to hug or touch each other.
. (TagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) news (t) Texas (t) florida (t) Beto-ORourke (t) Elizabeth-warren