Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro says the federal government must do more to move migrant children out of crowded detention centers. DeLauro spoke after touring the Homestead Temporary Influx Facility in Florida Monday, with several of her Democratic colleagues from the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services and Education.
Homestead is an emergency intake shelter for migrant children located next to the Homestead Air Reserve Base just outside of Miami. It is the largest of these shelters in the country, and also the only one run by a for-profit corporation and therefore not overseen by state regulators.
The Florida based company Comprehensive Health Services currently has a contract with the Department of Health and Human Services worth up to $220 million.
DeLauro said the noise inside the facility is "overwhelming," and is hampering efforts to educate the children.
“We were told by some of the children here, that they have and some are here for 44 days, 56 days and 60 days," she said at a press conference after the oversight visit. "In fact they do have family members and why aren’t they moving to leave this place and to be with a family member?”
The delegation learned that during the past two week period, more than 1,000 children were moved to placement with a sponsor. But DeLauro said that raises questions for DHHS handling of the situation.
"If we could have moved these children that quickly, why haven't we been moving them all along?" she asked.
Congresswoman DeLauro will hold an oversight hearing on Wednesday, July 24th on the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s (ORR) Unaccompanied Children program.
"Rest assured, we are going to keep their feet to the fire," she told reporters.