U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is encouraging Democratic presidential candidates to visit the Homestead shelter, housing more than 2,000 migrant children, this Friday.
Mucarsel-Powell says she’ll accompany the candidates to the facility, which Mucarsel-Powell has attempted to visit on multiple occasions.
The congresswoman from Florida’s 26th Congressional District has previously been denied entry to the facility. It’s unclear whether she and any candidates that take advantage of the offer will be allowed in this time around.
“What is happening at the Homestead Migrant Children Detention Facility is appalling,” Mucarsel-Powell said in a statement highlighting the invite.
“The [Donald] Trump Administration’s practice of separating children from their families must end. Just last week, I met a 13 year old child at the detention center who has been separated from his family for 44 days, despite his mother and sister waiting for him in America. He should have already been released to their custody.”
Mucarsel-Powell is making the offer as candidates head to Miami for the first primary debate of the Democratic cycle. That debate will be split over the course of two nights, on June 26 and 27.
Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, has already confirmed he plans to visit the Homestead facility on Thursday.
As for any candidates who can’t make the Friday trip, the release from Mucarsel-Powell says “she strongly encourages them to find time to visit the center during their stay in South Florida or as part of a future visit.”
Mucarsel-Powell was one of three South Florida congresswomen who have called for the facility to be closed. She reiterated those calls as part of Monday’s invite.
“Immigration reform should be a top issue in this presidential election, and every 2020 presidential candidate ought to visit the Homestead Detention Center and join us in denouncing Trump’s cruel immigration policies,” Mucarsel-Powell said.
“We need to place these children in safe homes and facilities and close this detention center down.”