Wasserman Schultz: Infants separated from their parents are in Florida immigrant shelters

Wasserman Schultz: Infants separated from their parents are in Florida immigrant shelters
© Getty

Rep. Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzFeminine hygiene products to be available to House lawmakers using congressional funds Dems accused of MeToo hypocrisy in Virginia President should use his address to rally Americans to our nation’s real needs MORE (D-Fla.) said at least 10 migrant infants and toddlers separated from their parents at the U.S.–Mexico border are being held in detention ceners near Miami.

Wasserman Schultz told the Miami Herald on Saturday that the children — ranging from newborns to 5 years old — were separated from their parents and in so-called tender-age shelters. 

The lawmaker said officials gave her a document that revealed the Miami-Dade County shelters, His House Children’s Home and Catholic Charities' Msgr. Bryan Walsh Children’s Village — formerly known as Boys Town — are housing an additional 88 children between ages of 6 and 12.

ADVERTISEMENT

A Department of Health and Human Services spokesman could not immediately confirm the numbers provided by Wasserman Schultz.

"These are specialized facilities, licensed by the state, that are fully capable of taking care of very young children," Mark Weber told the newspaper.

Children being housed at Msgr. Bryan Walsh Children’s Village were separated from their parents at the border under the Trump administration’s "zero tolerance" policy. The policy, announced earlier this year, resulted in the separations of more than 2,000 migrant families from April to May.

The policy drew swift and steady backlash from both sides of the aisle, prompting President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview MORE to give in to bipartisan pressure. On Wednesday, Trump reversed his administration's policy and signed an executive order to end the practice of separating migrant children from their parents after being apprehended for illegally crossing into the U.S. 

The order allows most families to be detained together as they await court proceedings, but makes no provisions for the more than 2,000 families who had already been separated under the initial policy.

Thousands of children are still being housed in shelters, away from their parents, while their parents face criminal proceedings.

Mary Ross Agosta, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Miami, said she could not confirm the children's exact ages, but said the kids in Msgr. Bryan Walsh Children’s Village were younger than is typical for the shelter.

"I cannot confirm the exact age of the children, but I do know that we do have children who are younger that we normally have. We normally take in children who are past the age of 10," Agosta said. "I do know that we have children from the border who are younger than that, quite a bit younger than 10."

Wasserman Schultz was joined by other Democratic representatives from Florida, including Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonDem behind impeachment push to boycott State of the Union Democrats seek to take on Trump at State of the Union Booker reaches out to lawmakers to seek support for 2020 bid MORE, Ted Deutch and Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoRecord profits put new bull’s-eye on tech giants Hispanic Dems announce task forces for 116th Congress Puerto Rico statehood supporters pin hopes on House action MORE, for a tour of a shelter Saturday afternoon.

Program director Leslie Wood told the newspaper on Friday that there were 1,179 migrant children between ages 13 and 17 at the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children, including at least 70 who had been separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.