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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – President Trump’s decision Wednesday to keep immigrant families together leaves the fate of more than 250 children separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border that are being housed in South Florida up in the air.
Blindsided by their arrival, Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen demanding more information on the children.
The letter said, in part “the district has not received any communication from the federal government nor provisions made to educate these children.”
Carvalho said the district will have the responsibility of providing them with an education.
“My question to those who have separated these children from their parents is have you been providing them a fair, free, high-quality public education,” he said.
Carvalho is diving straight into the controversy unfolding at a facility in Homestead where it’s estimated hundreds of school-age immigrant children are being held, some who were forcibly separated from their parents.
“It is not just, it is immoral and this practice, this policy, needs to end,” he said.
No one is sure what impact President Trump’s new order on keeping immigrant families together will have on the migrant children in Homestead.
Carvalho’s blistering letter to Nielsen about being kept out of the loop asked, in part, why the district had not received any communication from the federal government nor provisions to educate the children brought here.
He noted that the state’s constitution requires that all children be provided a public education while they are here.
“I can tell you that during the 2015-2016 school year we were experiencing the influx of kids from Central America, we were notified by the federal government and we had provided, then and now still, educational services to kids in two different entities,” said Carvalho. “His House in Miami Gardens where we have about 150 kids, we have deployed seven teachers and counselors to provide educational services and support for those kids. And Boys Town in Cutler Bay where we provided education to about 130 kids through five different teachers. What’s different this time? Are these kids not children of the same God. Why weren’t we notified?”
If the district ultimately provides schooling for the immigrant children in Homestead, they will face educational issues, says clinical psychologist Dr. Peggy Mustelier.
“The younger ones taken away from their parents definitely face trauma,” she says. “Most of the problems we observe have to do with comprehension and language development.”
Mustelier says the children who have been sent to Homestead already are feeling the effects.
“There’s a range of responses, some children shut down others might act out, but definitely the response is shocking,” she explained.
With the president’s new order still being dissected, Superintendent Carvalho tweeted Wednesday afternoon “this is encouraging news however the devil will be in the details of what happens to those families already separated and how newly detained families will be treated moving forward.”
An estimated, 2,400 hundred who have been separated from their families or crossed the border alone are being held at U.S. detention facilities.