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

Wasserman Schultz: Infants separated from their parents are in Florida immigrant shelters
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Rep. Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Rodney Davis says most important thing White House can do on COVID-19 is give consistent messaging; US new cases surpass 50k for first time VA initiates process to remove headstones with Nazi symbols Overnight Defense: Trump extends deployment of National Guard troops to aid with coronavirus response | Pentagon considers reducing quarantine to 10 days | Lawmakers push for removal of Nazi headstones from VA cemeteries 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.

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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 TrumpTrump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP Trump to hold outdoor rally in New Hampshire on Saturday Eighty-eight years of debt pieties 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 WilsonGOP struggles to confront racial issues On The Money: Republicans start bracing for shutdown fight in run-up to election | Mnuchin: White House seriously considering second round of stimulus checks | Labor leaders under pressure on police unions Labor leaders under pressure to oust police unions MORE, Ted Deutch and Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoFlorida lawmakers press Interior on offshore drilling Activists, analysts demand Congress consider immigrants in coronavirus package Hispanic Democrats demand funding for multilingual coronavirus messaging 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.