Scott: Practice of separating migrant children from parents 'needs to stop now'

Governor sends letter seeking information about status of children in Homestead


HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Gov. Rick Scott is among those Republicans calling on President Donald Trump's administration to stop separating migrant children from their undocumented parents.

Scott sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday, asking about the health and status of the children being held at a Homestead facility.

"I have been very clear that I absolutely do not agree with the practice of separating children from their families," Scott wrote. "This practice needs to stop now."

Scott's letter to Azar came on the same day that U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, were denied entry into the facility, known as the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children.

The senator and congresswoman were told by a guard that they would be "trespassing" if they attempted to enter the facility, even though Wasserman Schultz said they were previously told they would be allowed inside.

Scott, who is running to unseat Nelson in the Senate, said in his letter that former President Barack Obama also used the facility to house unaccompanied children in 2014. Scott said he requested information about the influx of children being moved to Florida at that time but "received little response."

The governor's letter seeks information about the "health, educational or other social services" being provided to the children at the facility.

Scott said Florida "stands ready to assist" with the reunification of children with their parents.

"It is extremely frustrating that, after decades of inaction by the federal government, many innocent children are now paying the price for the failures of Washington," Scott wrote. "Congress must address our immigration system immediately."