Three weeks into hurricane season, a South Florida congresswoman still can’t get a look at the plan to keep unaccompanied migrant children safe if a storm hits the Homestead shelter holding between 2,000 and 3,000 children.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell has expressed concern that the kids inside the shelter — some of whom live in tent-like structures — could be seriously harmed.
Upon the start of the season, the lawmaker demanded a detailed explanation of how kids would be protected, including how they would be evacuated if a major storm was bearing down on Homestead. Tuesday she got her answer — but not the one she wanted.
A one-page, six-bullet-point email told Mucarsel-Powell that the safety of the children is paramount and that the camp definitely has an evacuation plan. The actual plan however, wasn’t provided.
“Since the spring of 2018, the [Office of Refugee Resettlement] has closely coordinated with contractors on site and with federal partners to develop an evacuation plan for the Homestead Facility in the event of a Category 1 Hurricane or stronger. This plan includes elements for maintaining the accountability of all [children] in care, safe transportation and temporary housing for all children should an evacuation be necessary,” the email said. “ORR is working with on-site contractors and Federal partners to validate the plan, timelines and to ensure there is adequate space at the identified evacuation site.”
Mucarsel-Powell told the Miami Herald Wednesday that the government “is being irresponsible with the lives of thousands of children.”