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3 elected officials tour Cutler Bay facility housing undocumented children

22 of about 70 children at the shelter were separated from families at border

CUTLER BAY, Fla. – Three elected officials toured a facility for undocumented children Monday morning in Cutler Bay.

U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Florida, said there are 22 children who have been brought to the temporary shelter who were separated from their parents at the southern border. 

The good news, he said, is that the children at the facility are being treated "exceptionally well." 

Curbelo said there were more children being held at the shelter, but some have already been picked up by family members living in the country.

Local 10 News reporter Ian Margol was outside the shelter as several more family members showed up at the facility to take custody of their young relatives.

Curbelo was joined by U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, who also toured the Monsignor Bryan Walsh Children's Village Monday morning. 

Inside, they saw children in classrooms and said others were being taken on a field trip to the Miami Seaquarium.

Wasserman Schultz said children as young as 4 and 5 were among the group of 22 children who had been separated from their parents.

She said conditions at the Catholic Charities facility are much better than at the Homestead Shelter for Unaccompanied Children, which she toured Saturday. That center is holding about 1,000 immigrants, including 70 who've been separated from their parents. 

Wasserman Shultz told reporters on Monday that she considers the practice of separating children from their parents "sadistic," "demonic" and "outrageous."

Curbelo said he's grateful for the executive order that ended the policy of separating families, but said more has to be done. 

"We want this policy to end permanently (so) that never again can any administration in the United States separate children, especially young children, from their parents," Curbelo said. "There must be a way to both keep families together and enforce our country's immigration laws. And that is the kind of solution that we are looking for."

As for the number of total immigrant children in South Florida, Curbelo couldn't go deep into detail, but said there were about 70 undocumented children being held at the Cutler Bay facility, including the 22 who were separated from their families at the southern border.