The Miami-Dade County Public Schools superintendent wrote a scathing letter to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, charging that up to 1,000 immigrant children are believed to have been moved from Texas to a Homestead, Fla., detention center without alerting local education officials, who are required by state law to teach them.
Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said in his letter, which was copied to other officials in the Trump administration and to Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), that Florida law requires local education officials to educate all children within their borders, and he asked Nielsen to get in touch with the school system to discuss how to proceed.
This week’s letter follows days of turmoil stemming from the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy that requires immigrant children to be separated from their parents or guardians when they enter the United States illegally. Thousands of children have been separated and are being held in huge shelters and tent cities.
The Miami Herald reported that 1,200 immigrant children are being held at the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children and that some of them were recently separated from their parents. Sen. Bill Nelson (D), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) and state Rep. Kionne McGhee (D) were prevented from entering the facility Tuesday.
Public school districts usually are required by state law to educate students within their borders, as Carvalho noted in his letter. It has been reported that older boys who have been separated from their parents at some Texas facilities go to school for six hours a day, but it is unclear what is happening with girls and younger boys, some of whom are babies.
Carvalho slammed the separation policy in his letter:
These actions which have been carried out in the name of border security are not emblematic of a nation which holds itself out as a beacon of justice, humanity, and freedom. These actions do not represent the United States of America.