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2020 Democrats visit Florida migrant children's shelter following debate

2020 Democrats visit Florida migrant children's shelter following debate
© Getty Images

At least 11 Democratic presidential candidates visited a child migrant detention facility in Homestead, Fla., this week either before or after taking the debate stage in Miami.

2020 Democrats Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisMeghan McCain: Harris 'sounded like a moron' discussing immigration I visited the border and the vice president should too Texas governor announces plan to build southern border wall MORE (Calif.), Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Defense: Austin and Milley talk budget, Afghanistan, sexual assault and more at wide-ranging Senate hearing Top general: Military justice overhaul proposed by Gillibrand 'requires some detailed study' Cher apologizes for confusing Sinema, Gillibrand MORE (N.Y.), South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegButtigieg: Bipartisan deal on infrastructure 'strongly preferred' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican | Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack | Texas gov signs bills to improve power grid after winter storm Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican MORE, former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperSenator's on-air interview features carpooling colleague waving from back seat DC statehood bill picks up Senate holdout Lobbying world MORE and former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro visited the facility Friday morning, entering and exiting the processing building of the facility together.

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Author and 2020 candidate Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonSusan Sarandon and Marianne Williamson call for justice in Steven Donziger case Marianne Williamson: Refusal to hike minimum wage is part of 'rigged economy' Rush Limbaugh dead at 70 MORE arrived later, and Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Energy: Biden seeks to reassert US climate leadership | President to 'repeal or replace' Trump decision removing protections for Tongass | Administration proposes its first offshore wind lease sale On The Money: Democrats wary of emerging bipartisan infrastructure deal, warn of time crunch Out-of-touch Democrats running scared of progressives MORE (I-Vt.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenMark Cuban: ProPublica 'not being honest' about taxes on wealthy On The Money: Bipartisan Senate group rules out tax hikes on infrastructure | New report reignites push for wealth tax New report reignites push for wealth tax MORE (D-Mass.) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHouse unveils antitrust package to rein in tech giants Democrats reintroduce bill to create 'millionaires surtax' Senate Democrats befuddled by Joe Manchin MORE (D-Minn.) and New York Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioNYC planning mega-concert to celebrate reopening Ocasio-Cortez endorses Maya Wiley in NYC mayoral race Former 'Real Housewives' star exits New York mayoral race MORE (D) and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) visited the center earlier this week.

While candidates were allowed inside the processing building on Friday, they were “denied” access to tour the facilities, Buttigieg said.

Several candidates instead took turns speaking to a crowd outside the facility, with Harris slamming the Trump administration as one “that prefers to beat people down instead of lift them up,” adding, “That’s why we need a new president of the United States.”

“Part of the strength of our nation is supposed to be that we have strong arms,” Harris said in a video posted on Twitter. “We are seeing a breakdown not only of our moral values but of our democracy.”

The Trump administration has continued to come under fire for its immigration policies, and recent reports have drawn attention to poor facilities at migrant detention centers. Congress this week passed a $4.6 billion spending package aimed at addressing issues at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Video taken Friday shows Gillibrand and Harris standing shoulder to shoulder as they meet with women and children whose family members have reportedly been deported.

Several candidates, including Harris, Gillibrand, Hickenlooper and Castro, also made a point to walk to the ladders to try and see the children inside the facility, which holds about 2,300 people. 

Castro told reporters that while standing by the ladders, he saw kids marching in lines, wearing orange hats “the color of prison uniforms.”

He shouted to them in Spanish, “We are here for you, you are not alone.”

Ten 2020 Democrats took the debate stage Wednesday night, while an 10 additional candidates faced off Thursday night.