Nelson, lawmakers going back to Florida shelter housing migrant children

Lawmakers were denied entry Tuesday a Homestead facility

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Undocumented migrants gather to hear information as they await asylum hearings outside of the port of entry on June 20, 2018 in Tijuana, Mexico.

Two days after Florida Democratic lawmakers were denied entry to a south Florida facility housing immigrant children Sen. Bill Nelson said he will return Saturday and -- this time -- he has been guaranteed entry by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Nelson attempted to visit the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children on Tuesday to see the conditions and speak to some of 94 children being held there. Security officials at the facility denied their entry.

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."

[RELATED: There are 2,300 migrant kids spread across the US. What happens to them next?]

The 1,000-bed facility, operated by Cape Canaveral company Comprehensive Health Services Inc., is one of several properties contracted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Florida and Texas. Department spokesman Kenneth Wolfe said in an email Monday that the Homestead facility had reopened as "a temporary unaccompanied alien children program facility." He did not provide additional details.

Representatives with Nelson's office said the senator will return to the building Saturday at 1 p.m. to meet with the children being held there and to speak with officials about reuniting them with their parents.

An executive order signed Wednesday by President Donald Trump replaces family separation with family detention. It's too early to tell when the thousands of separated children will be reunited with their parents.

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