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The Facts: Immigration Detention Centers

The debate is this: Should families who seek asylum in the United States by crossing the border illegally be separated?

It’s a touchy debate that is changing the lives of families.

On Tuesday, Senator Bill Nelson was blocked from entering a facility in Homestead, Florida by Health and Human Services. He took to Twitter, stating “HHS just blocked us from entering its facility in Homestead, Florida to check on the welfare of the children being held here. They are obviously hiding something, and we are going to get to the bottom of this.”

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Later on, Senator Nelson tweeted that there are 94 children in that facility who were separated from their families.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order to keep families together. But he pledges that the zero tolerance policy will continue.

What’s the current law behind what’s going on?

HelloSWFL sifted through some long-winded documents and talked to Ave Maria School of Law Professor Ulysses Jaen who could break down these laws for us.

First, under the Clinton administration, the law changed and it became a misdemeanor to cross the border illegally when seeking asylum if you don’t go through a point of entry.

Second the Flores Reno agreement. This decision is being used to argue what’s being done is legal. Jaen says it’s actually the opposite.

“It is the responsibility of the society to take care of that child. By putting him in some Walmart or dention center or heaven forbid a camp in the desert we are basically engaging in abuse and we’re disobeying the settlement agreement which was to reduce the trauma,” Jaen said. “Which was being caused to children when they’re separated from they’re families because of the immigration laws.”

And third, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 spells out what to do with an unaccompanied minor crossing the boarder. Jaen says the minors in the camp were not unaccompanied.

Additional reporting by Bo Evans

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