After being denied access Tuesday to a Homestead facility housing migrant children, Sen. Bill Nelson says he is being granted a tour of the facility by Health and Human Services (HHS) officials. That tour will take place Saturday.
Nelson arrived at the center earlier in the week with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and incoming Florida House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee.
The group had planned to speak with migrant children being held there. Around 1,000 children in total are housed at that facility, 94 of which were separated from their families under a recently-amended policy by President Donald Trump.
Nelson and Wasserman Schultz say they were told they would be able to tour the facility before arriving, but were barred by HHS officials on the scene. HHS requires a two-week notice before opening the facilities for visitation.
According to an email highlighted by the Tampa Bay Times’ Alex Leary, HHS has decided to temporarily waive that two-week requirement to allow some members of Congress to view the migrant centers and speak to children located there.
Nelson announced on Twitter he would return to the Homestead facility Saturday.
Pres. Trump’s order does nothing to help the 2,300 kids already separated from their families. I am heading back to Homestead, FL Saturday to check on 94 kids there who were separated from their parents to find out exactly what’s being done to reunite them with their families.
— Senator Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) June 21, 2018
Leary also reports Nelson will be joined by U.S. Reps. Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson.
In his announcement, Nelson noted Trump’s decision to rescind his administration’s child separation policy does not explicitly ensure that children already separated from parents would be returned.
However, in a cabinet meeting earlier today, the president said he would move to bring those families back together.
“I’m directing HHS, DHS, and DOJ to work together to keep illegal immigrant families together during the immigration process and to reunite these previously separated groups,” he said.
In addition to the visit by Florida lawmakers, Democratic candidates for governor also have a march planned for Saturday at the same facility.
Nelson plans to arrive at the Homestead migrant center at 1 p.m.