Nelson says Trump alone can end separating immigrant families at border

'They ought to be ashamed,' Sen. Bill Nelson tweets

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Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - The Latest on an immigration facility in Florida (all times local):

11:26 a.m. 

While speaking on the Senate Floor Wednesday, Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson called on President Trump to end separating families at the U.S. border.

"It is certainly time to return to our true American value of keeping families together," Nelson said. "He and he alone is allowing this shameful practice to continue. And he and he alone can stop it."

Nelson addresses the Senate the morning after he and other lawmakers were denied entry to a Homestead, Florida facility housing immigrant children. That facility is operated by Cape Canaveral company Comprehensive Health Services Inc., reports Florida Today.

11:00 a.m.

Sen. Bill Nelson will address the Senate Floor Wednesday at 11:15 a.m. the morning after he and other lawmakers were denied entry to a South Florida facility housing immigrant children.

Watch live in the video player at the top of this story.

6:30 p.m.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is calling on President Donald Trump's administration to stop separating immigrant families at the border.

Scott put the request in a letter he sent Tuesday to the head of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Scott's letter also requested that federal authorities notify state officials when they bring into Florida migrant children who have been separated from their families. Federal authorities earlier this year reopened a facility near Miami where children are being kept.

The Republican governor also wants to know what services are being provided to the children and whether they have had any health screenings. He said the information is needed to make sure that the children are being protected.

Scott's letter came on the same day that U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz were denied access to a facility in Homestead.

2:25 p.m.

A Department of Health and Human Services spokesman denied an Associated Press reporter access to Secretary Alex Azar while he was at a Miami hospital.

Azar met Tuesday with opioid patients at a Miami hospital, shortly after two Florida lawmakers said Azar's agency had kept them from entering a Miami-area detention center for immigrant children.

Spokesman Gavin Smith barred an AP reporter from asking Azar questions about the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children because an interview with the secretary hadn't been pre-arranged.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson went to the facility Tuesday following reports it was receiving detained migrant children who had arrived in the country illegally.

President Donald Trump's immigration policies have come under intense scrutiny following reports of the forced separation of migrant children from their parents.
 

12:50 p.m.

Florida lawmakers were prohibited Tuesday from entering a Miami-area facility housing immigrant children.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, both Democrats, told reporters outside the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children that they would try to record video from inside the facility.

Before attempting to enter the facility, Wasserman Schultz said it was being used for both children who arrived as unaccompanied minors as well as children separated from their families at the border.

Wasserman Schultz said she had been told she would need to make a request to visit the facility two weeks in advance. The congresswoman said that policy "continues to smack of cover up."

Nelson called said "they are obviously hiding something" and that he will raise the issue in the Senate.

12:20 p.m.

A Democratic candidate for governor wants to know what Florida officials were told about a recently reopened facility for children who entered the country illegally.

[RELATED: Children, parents are separated at the border. Here's what we know]

Gwen Graham on Tuesday filed a public records request asking that Gov. Rick Scott turn over any records related to the reopening of a facility in the Miami area and whether there are any other detention facilities now operating in the state. Graham, a former member of Congress, is one of several Democrats vying to replace the Republican governor.

Scott said Monday that he's opposed to the policy of separating families when they're detained after crossing the border.

12:20 p.m.

A Miami-Dade County leader says a Miami-area immigration facility where children could be seen playing soccer appears to be housing young immigrants who arrived in the U.S. without their parents.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez told reporters Tuesday that the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children appeared to be housing an overflow of immigrant children.

Gimenez said Miami-Dade Police believe the children were sent to South Florida because other facilities have been filled by children separated from their parents in Texas.

Gimenez said he opposed the policy that separated children from their families crossing the U.S. border.

12 p.m.

Several dozen children were playing soccer outside a Miami-area facility for children who entered the U.S. illegally and alone.

Reporters weren't allowed onto the property. One protester joined them outside, holding a sign showing a Nazi guard pulling a child away from woman with a Jewish star and saying "Nazis took children away. Trump inhumane."

Martin Levine, from the Miami suburb of West Kendall, says he came because he believes the policy to separate families is immoral.

Levine says the policy "is not a Democrat or Republican issue, because all of the former first ladies have found this policy despicable."

Republican lawmakers from Miami-Dade County have condemned the policy of separating families crossing the border.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted Tuesday: "Let's change the law so we can hold families together while awaiting expedited hearings."

10:35 a.m.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson plans a visit Tuesday to a reopened Miami-area facility for children who entered the U.S. illegally and alone.

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.

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.

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