The Homestead Child Detention Center is located in South Florida about a 30 minute drive from Miami. The facility was a former Job Corps training site. In 2016 it was converted to use as a temporary detention center for unaccompanied minors crossing the border, but it was closed in 2017. In March of 2018, the center was reactivated and over 14,300 minors have been sheltered there. In mid-July, 2019 the center’s child population began to rapidly decline, and all of the children were removed by August 3rd.
Facts You Should Know
- With 3,200 beds at its peak, children remained an average of 67 days before being released to a sponsor.
- Homestead is the only child shelter for immigrants that’s run by a for-profit corporation, Comprehensive Health Services, Inc., which won a no-bid contract at a cost of over $1 million per day.
- Located on a federal military base, the facility was not subject to state laws and regulation.
- Since the Administration stopped the family separation policy, over 900 children have been separated from their families: 481 less than 10 years of age and 185 less than 5 years.
- In 2018, Protesters, which included members of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) gathered 128,000 signatures from opponents of the facility.
- Though labeled as a “temporary influx facility,” when the shelter emptied taxpayers paid $720,000 a day: $600 a day for each of 1,200 empty beds at the military base facility. When children were present, the cost was $750 per child daily.
- Many groups, including our League, and the media raised concerns to our elected officials in Congress and kept Homestead in the news. Between July 3, 2019 and August 3, 2109 all of the children were moved out of the facility. On October 28th — it was announced that this facility was permanently closing, and the contract with Caliburn was not being renewed when it ran out in November 2019.
- HR 3401: Increased funding by $4.59 billion for care of migrants and unaccompanied alien children in detention centers. It included a requirement that mandatory reports from HHS regarding treatment and management of centers be sent to both House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
- House Appropriations Committee Hearings: 9/18/19 Oversight Hearing: Mental Health Needs of Children in HHS Custody. Office of Refugee Resettlement, Inspector General and Public Health Corps.
Recent federal legislation, passed by the House awaiting Senate action
- H.R. 2203 Homeland Security Improvement Act: Establishes several policies and bodies related to border security, including a commission to investigate and make a complete accounting of the handling of migrant families and children at the southern border since January 2017. Limits when DHS may separate a child from a parent or a legal guardian.
H.R. 3525 U.S. Border Patrol Medical Screening Standards Act: Requires U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to establish procedures to ensure consistent and efficient medical screenings for all individuals stopped between ports of entry, with a priority on screening those who have not reached the age of 18. Requires each Border Patrol sector to have an on-site pediatric medical expert.
Where are the children?