Five 2020 candidates tried to tour the Florida prison camp for migrant kids. They were all blocked
Five Democratic candidates for president—two of them sitting United States senators—were denied entry to the prison camp for migrant children in Homestead, Florida, on Friday, Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell tweeted. “By law, as a sitting Congressmember, I should be let in,” she said. “While I regularly request entry, I’m often denied. What are they hiding?”
Mucarsel-Powell tweeted a photo showing herself, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Kamala Harris, and former Gov. John Hickenlooper inside a lobby, presumably being told they wouldn’t be able to enter. A longtime advocate for these jailed kids, Mucarsel-Powell had invited all candidates who were participating in the 2020 Democratic debates to visit the facility, which currently jails nearly 3,000 kids.
While Mucarsel-Powell and the candidates weren’t able to get inside, some of them did meet with advocates outside. “We came here today to get a look at a private detention facility for children, and instead of being shown this detention facility where 2,700 kids are staying, we were stonewalled,” Castro told reporters. “We were stonewalled today by an administration and a contractor that does not want us to see what is happening behind those walls, and it makes you wonder: What in the hell are they hiding?”
A facility that has done nothing wrong has nothing to hide, but Michael Garcia Bochenek of the Children’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch said that “children held in Homestead … told us that staff repeatedly told them that breaking any rule, including something as minor as failing to walk in single file or accidentally touching another child, even a sibling, would mean more time locked up and could get them deported.”