Trump admin illegally blocks House Democrats from entering prison camp for migrant kids
Three House Democrats were illegally denied entrance to a prison camp for migrant children in Florida on Monday, in violation of a law sponsored by one of those legislators and signed into place by Donald Trump just this year.
In a joint statement last weekend, Florida Congress members Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Donna Shalala, and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell said that they had been informed by the administration that they would not be allowed to enter the Homestead facility to conduct their oversight responsibilities, reportedly because Department of Health and Human Services officials needed more time for their request.
But as the statement from the Congress members notes, a new law sponsored by Wasserman Schultz mandates congressional access. “Denying entry to oversee the conditions and care provided to the unaccompanied children in the Homestead facility would not only be a breach of transparency and confidence in the care provided there,” they said, “it would violate the law.” On Monday, the three traveled to Homestead anyway, where they were indeed blocked by facility staffers.
Florida television station Local 10 reports that an HHS spokesperson said the members needed to provide two weeks’ notice, which creates a bit of a problem for federal legislators who are trying to conduct that whole oversight thing under an administration that has carried out horrific abuses against children. This violation is particularly terrifying, considering that Homestead could soon be jailing as many as 3,200 kids, which would make it larger in size than a nearby high school.
“As members of Congress it is essential that we see for ourselves what are conditions are, and conduct the constitutionally mandated oversight that we are obligated to provide,” Wasserman Schultz told reporters outside Homestead. “The Department of Health and Human Services is violating federal law denying us entry today.”