06/22/18: Immigration Firestorm Hits Home With Some Separated Kids detained In Florida

Jun 22, 2018

President Donald Trump has backed down on his controversial “zero tolerance” policy separating kids from their families at the southern border.

This week we learned that some of those kids were sent to Florida. Hundreds remain in detention in the Sunshine State.

As outrage grows, the immigration firestorm is affecting the U.S. Senate race between Governor Rick Scott and Senator Bill Nelson.

Even though the Trump administration has halted its controversial “zero tolerance” policy of separating illegal border crossers from their kids, many of those children and toddlers remain in shelters and foster homes across the country.

More than two thousand of them have been separated from their parents since May, when the policy went into effect.

The U.S. government has done little to help with the reunifications, attorneys say, prompting them to launch a frantic, improvised effort to find the children — some of them babies.

The national outcry was intense after images were made public from the border showing crying children locked in cages, and in some cases, toddlers and infants being flown to other cities around the country with no clear path to reunify them.

Meanwhile, Nelson will be in Homestead, Florida Saturday to visit the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children and speak to some of the 94 children there who have been separated from their families.

The senator, along with South Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, were both denied entry to the shelter on Tuesday.

Nelson is locked in a tight re-election race with outgoing Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Meanwhile, Scott’s Senate campaign issued a statement accusing Nelson of doing nothing to address the immigration problem. Scott said he’ll focus on both family reunification and border security.

Here’s the Florida connection: According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are more than 1,000 migrant children currently being held at the Homestead shelter – including 94 who were separated from their families at the border.

HHS said at least 174 children who were separated from their families are being held at facilities around Florida – including the 94 at Homestead.

We spent the full hour on this week’s Florida Roundup podcast discussing the crisis at the border and how states like Florida, and others, have become involved.

Our guests during the program were:

  • Sergio Bustos, who reports for POLITICO, joined us via Skype.
  • Thomas Kennedy with the Florida Immigrant Coalition joined us from WLRN in Miami.
  • Immigration attorney Susan Pai joined us from WJCT  in Jacksonville.