Government puts hold on Homestead migrant shelter placements

Lawmakers granted permission to take photos inside facility

The government has put a hold on admitting any more children into the migrant shelter in Homestead.

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – The government has put a hold on admitting any more children into the migrant shelter in Homestead. 

About 1,300 children out of the 11,000 scattered across the country are currently being housed at the facility.

A total of 1,757 children were being housed at the facility Friday, but 448 were released over the weekend. As of Monday morning, there were 1,309 teenagers still at the shelter. 

No children have been admitted to the facility since July 3. 

Meanwhile, lawmakers were granted permission Monday for the first time to take photos inside the Homestead shelter for migrant children.

"The most critical piece is how quickly are we moving children to the safe placement of a family member or a sponsor," U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said. 

It's just one of the questions the congressmen and woman on the committee overseeing the purse strings for facilities like the one in Homestead.  

For the first time, the delegation was allowed to shoot photos inside the facility. 

The group described smiling hopeful teens who have been through trauma but are receiving adequate physical care.

Still, they question whether enough attention is being given regarding mental health. They called the school environment "distractingly noisy" and regret that teens are being detained at all.

Other questions from the lawmakers include: Why are some teens there who have family in the U.S., and why are hurricane contingency plans not public?  

Monday's tour was a first for all but South Florida's Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

"We did not get a neutral last-minute picture of what's going on in this facility," the congresswoman said.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."