Local immigrant advocates in Homestead, Florida are pushing back on the Biden administration as it considers reopening a facility to house unaccompanied immigrant migrant children in their city.
The detention center, previously opened under Trump was quickly labeled a "prison camp" by opponents, and housed an estimated 1,000 migrant children before closing due to criticism.
According to United We Dream’s Thomas Kennedy, the facility was the subject of "numerous allegations of sexual abuse, of mistreatment of the children," claiming that "Reports and tours of the facility have shown that it was inadequate in housing.”
Outside of a Homestead City Hall meeting on Thursday, speakers held a press conference to expressed their disappointment in the Biden administration after reports surfaced last week that the facility might be reopened.
“It’s unheard of that we’re here again under a new administration,” said Melissa Taveras with the Florida Immigration Coalition, advising Biden to seek alternatives to using the facility.
"There are alternative solutions for these kids. They have family members, they have organizations like ours and churches, and other community leaders who are more than happy to be with them and stand with them as they complete their asylum process,” she added.
During her presidential campaign, then-senator Kamala Harris paid a visit to the facility, saying at the time, “We’re all here because we know that we need to stand up for America.”
Immigrant advocates hope the now-vice president keeps her word as Trump-era housing for unaccompanied migrant children continue to reopen under the new administration, which criticized the Trump administration for "keeping kids in cages" at the same facilities.
During a press briefing on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki claimed the administration "had to expand and open additional facilities because there was not enough space in the existing facilities if we were to abide by COVID protocols."
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava posted a tweet on Wednesday expressing her disappointment in the Biden administration for the move.