Federal agencies are scrambling to expand capacity at detention facilities for unaccompanied minors who illegally cross the southern border, and one of those facilities may include the defunct Homestead Detention Center in Miami-Dade County, now called Biscayne Influx Care Facility.
In 2019, activist group WeCount published a report indicating that the Homestead detention center sits in close proximity to sites of hazardous chemical waste which are listed in the federal government’s toxic-waste cleanup program, Superfund. Amnesty USA called use of the facility “cruel and unlawful.”
That summer, more than a dozen Democratic presidential hopefuls visited Homestead to register their denunciation of the facility and pose for photos, including Eric Swalwell, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Bill de Blasio, Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke (who shouted in Spanish “We see you! We love you! We are here with you!”), Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Hickenlooper, Marianne Williamson, Tulsi Gabbard, and Vice President Kamala Harris.
“I will tell you, when elected, the first thing I’m going to do—one of the first things—is to shut down these private detention facilities. Just shut ’em down,” Harris said.
Biden skipped the photo op.
The privately-run Homestead center was shut down in August 2019 following reports that it had no hurricane preparedness plan. It was later revealed as well that staff were not vetted for prior child abuse records.