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Bill Nelson, others to tour Homestead migrant facility Saturday

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.

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.

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to

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