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Migrant children in private detention center removed under the cover of darkness-destination unknown

The children were removed under the guise of a hurricane.

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To be clear. Miami is not under a hurricane watch or warning, nor is any of South Florida in “the cone”. In fact, there is no hurricane in the Atlantic at all. We are tropical today, but that means downpours and storms for a couple of days, not cyclonic activity.

Under the cover of darkness, the last of the center’s children have been removed from the shelter. They were removed between the hours of 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. Saturday. It is unclear where they were taken. 

The for-profit Comprehensive Health Services in Canaveral, FL is a private company raking in the dough since Trump’s manufactured crisis at the border. The firm has been profiting from Trump tax cuts and government spending. They profit off of human lives by keeping people in concentration camps indefinitely. 

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Monique Madan writes in the Miami Herald.

“Today we are announcing that all [children] sheltered in the Homestead facility have either been reunified with an appropriate sponsor or transferred to a state-licensed facility within the [Office of Refugee Resettlement] network of care providers as of August 3, 2019.,” the agency said in a statement Saturday afternoon, a few hours after this story was posted. “Since activation in March 2018, approximately 14,300 UAC have been sheltered at the Homestead site.”

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Homestead was the largest for-profit, influx detention center for unaccompanied minor children in the country with 3,200 beds at its peak. As of Saturday, the government had no plans of sending any incoming kids to the center from the southern border.

The move to empty out Homestead came in the same days that HHS told lawmakers it was considering Central Florida, as well as Virginia and Los Angeles, as sites for future permanent shelters to hold unaccompanied migrant children. Last month the government said it was also looking at Atlanta, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Phoenix. Homestead will remain open as an emergency shelter in case bed space runs out at other centers.

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In the last few weeks, the center’s child population had been rapidly declining as the peak of hurricane season approached. About a month ago, there were roughly 3,000 kids; earlier this week there were less than 500. To abide by safety regulations, the government had to get the population down to 1,200, and in order to evacuate in case of a tropical storm or hurricane, that number had to be reduced by at least 700.

South Florida’s current weather activated the center’s recently revealed hurricane plan, which said the facility would transfer all children at least five days before South Florida was was in the cone of error. Federal officials would not say which centers they were taken to.

“From reducing the number of children held at Homestead to forcing the administration to produce a hurricane plan, I’m glad that our community’s persistent advocacy brought about real results,” said Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, whose district includes the area where the center is located. “However, I still have many questions about where these children are being sent to and the conditions they’ll be kept in. They shouldn’t be sent to another detention facility — they must be reunited with family or placed with a sponsor.”

The facility south of Miami has been the focus of international news, demonstrations, and federal investigations. Nobody evacuates for a tropical wave in Florida. Nobody! So where are they? This has the potential to be yet another Homeland Security bureaucratic nightmare.

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