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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Both a democratic and republican congressperson visited a facility in Cutler Bay holding migrant children on Monday.
Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz and republican Carlos Curbelo toured the facility that is housing children that include those that the government calls a ‘tender age.’
Curbelo said 22 children remain separated from their parents despite six days having passed since President Trump signed an executive order directing all children taken from their parents be reunited.
Curbelo said an executive order doesn’t cut it.
“We want to end this policy permanently,” he said. “For that, we need legislative action. We need changes in the law so that this situation never happens again in our country.”
Wasserman Schultz called the Catholic Charities-run facility vastly better in every way then a barracks style compound housing children in Homestead, and being operated by a private contractor. In the Catholic center, for instance, the kids are permitted more than two brief phone calls a week.
“If they are sad, or asked to speak to their parents, then arrangements are made to make those phone calls,” Wasserman-Schultz said.
Still, she and her Republican counterparts condemned the separation of families under any
circumstances. The Democrat lashing out at President Trump.
“Any parent, which President Trump is, that could involuntarily separate parents from their children, to me is just a sadist,” Wasserman Schultz said.
Wasserman Schultz choked up as she imagined what it would be like to be a parent whose children had been “ripped” from them.
Mayors, like Cutler Bay’s Peggy Bell, have said the promised family reunification seems a mess.
“We don’t know how long it’s going to take. We don’t know what procedure is. We are completely in the dark about it,“ bell said.
While there is confusion about the reunification process, Curbelo said he can only speak to what he knows and that progress is being made at the Cutler Bay facility.
“We received confirmation from the administrators here at this facility that already, some of the children that were housed here are on their way to being reunited with their parents, and that is good news.”
Curbelo had nothing but praise for Catholic Charities, who he said is doing an outstanding job of caring for the separated children.
There is another facility in Miami-Dade County, near Miami Gardens, that is also housing children of a tender age.
Congressional sources say in total, 98 children ages infant-to-10 years old are being held at the two facilities as the reunification process continues.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services tells CBS4’s Gary Nelson that the process is moving along and that at last count, 522 children that had been separated from their parents have since been reunited.
All together, HHS had said approximately 2300 children were separated from their parents.