Rep. Debbie Murcasel-Powel introduces presidential candidates Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, John Hickenlooper, and Kirsten Gillibrand at an event outside the Homestead Migrant Children Detention Facility near Miami, where more than 2,000 illegal immigrant children are being held.
"I can not tell you how angry it makes me when you lock up a child," Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said. "I have toured HHS facilities before, in Texas, I know what it looks like. It is like a prison. The beds are lined just like you would see in a prison. No personal effects, nothing like home, no comfort. We have heard about sexual assault allegations here in this facility by staff. By staff!"
"You are I are paying for that place," South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg said. "What is being done in that building is being done in our name and with our money and it is wrong. It is wrong. But if it is our tax money, our country, then it is our obligation to bring about something different and that is what we are here to do. We will say no more to prisons for children. Never again."
"We're here because we know that we have to stand up for our American when the Trump administration overlooks the fact that what is being done to these children is a human rights abuse by the United States," Sen. Kamala Harris said. "We are here to stand up and say that we are not going to allow this to happen. When I am elected, one of the first things I am going to do is shut down these private detention facilities, just shut 'em down."
"When I first read about the humanitarian crisis at the border and that children were being taken away from their parents and put into cages, in some cases children were put up for adoption, I don't know, in Colorado, we call that kidnapping," former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said. "The time has come to recognize that we can do a better job for these kids."
"We were stonewalled today by an administration and a private contractor that does not want us to see what is happening behind those walls," former HHS Secretary Julian Castro said. "And it makes you wonder: What the hel are they hiding?"
"Is it the overcrowding? Is it the sexual abuse? Is it the emotional damage that is being done to these children, many of whom are here for weeks and weeks and some of them for several months? We need to reform our immigration system," Castro said.