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Tags: carlos curbelo | miami facility | immigrant children

Sen. Curbelo: Immigrant Children in Miami Treated Well; Policy Still Bad

By    |   Tuesday, 26 June 2018 09:34 AM EDT

Sen. Carlos Curbelo said Tuesday he toured a Miami facility housing immigrant children who have either been separated from their parents and found a far different scene than the "very difficult, very painful" images of children being held in caged detention areas elsewhere.

"I did see 70 of these children. 22 of them were separated from their families at the border," the Florida Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe," while describing a facility run by Catholic Charities of Miami."The other 50 or so came across the border alone. They are a little older."

At the Miami shelter, Curbelo said what he saw was "truly uplifting."

"The children all had toys," he said. "A group of small children was on their way to the seaquarium. We were able to interact with them and I looked at that and I said 'this is who we are as a nation.'"

Curbelo said the shelter is the same one that 60 years ago welcomed exiled children from Cuba, who only expected to be there a few months but ended up staying in the United States the rest of their lives.

He told the program that the youngest child he saw was five years old, and one could tell the children had been through a difficult experience.

"You could also tell they were being treated with extraordinary kindness, that they were seeing things that they had probably never seen in their lives," said Curbelo. "They were living in air conditioning. I'm sure most of those children never experienced that and they were getting to see my town, the city of Miami. We know these children will soon be reunited with their families."

Curbelo agreed, though, that children should not be separated from their families, and he told the program he strongly opposes the Trump zero-tolerance policy that allowed that to happen.

"What I can tell you is that some of the staff from the archdiocese of Miami told us that already some of the children who were there were on their way to being reunited with their families, so we know that process has started," said Curbelo.

Meanwhile, a balance must be reached when enforcing the nation's immigration laws, as "we cannot be a lawless country," said Curbelo, but "we also cannot traumatize children in this way and we have to keep families together as much as possible."

He noted that Americans and members of Congress spoke out against the separation policy, and he himself finds it to be "completely objectionable, wrong, immoral, and unnecessary"

The American people spoke out, members of congress from both parties spoke out and the administration backed off," said Curbelo. "This is the way it's supposed to work. It doesn't happen that way in Cuba. It doesn't happen that way in Venezuela or Russia so this is a difficult situation but at the end I think most Americans got the result that we wanted which was to stop this."

He said he does believe that criminals coming in should be met with the full force of the law, "but if you were a family that is fleeing violence or looking for an opportunity to work in our country, it does not mean we should just announce everyone in that situation will be allowed into the country, but we should have discretion, kindness, compassion and those families should be kept together while their cases are being adjudicated."

The senator said he also thinks more judges are needed to expedite illegal entry cases.

"If an undocumented immigrant came alone and as an adult, we give that case a lesser priority," said Curbelo. "If it's a family unit, two parents and two small children, let's put that case at the top of the pile, get it processed and adjudicated so that the family won't be in detention past a couple weeks or three weeks."

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Politics
Sen. Carlos Curbelo said Tuesday he toured a Miami facility housing immigrant children who have either been separated from their parents and found a far different scene than the "very difficult, very painful" images of children being held in caged detention areas elsewhere.
carlos curbelo, miami facility, immigrant children
640
2018-34-26
Tuesday, 26 June 2018 09:34 AM
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