On Wednesday, actress Alyssa Milano showed up at an immigrant detention center in Florida in her “chauffeur-driven Mercedes,” as The Daily Mail reported, and attempted to get inside, boasting, “I’m Alyssa Milano. I’m an actress/activist and I would love to be let in based on a community visit.”
The government agents had a simple response: Nope.
As The Daily Mail reported, “Once back in her car, Milano filmed another video and asked her 3.6 million followers to submit requests asking for her to be allowed in on Thursday. She urged her fans, ‘We tried to get in, they wouldn’t let us. They gave me a card to email to make a visit request … Maybe we should all email and tell them to let me in. Because I’m going to go back there tomorrow and again try to be let in … They want me to make an appointment to be let back in, usually that appointment is set up for two weeks later. Of course, in that two weeks they have the time to clean up the place. I thought it was important that they just let me in.’”
Milano said, “We gotta shut down these detention centers. There are thousands of children at Homestead. They had pencils and pens taken away from them because they were cutting themselves. They are not allowed to have any physical contact with each other to comfort each other even if they’re siblings. The 17-year-old, once they turn 18, they’re put into solitary confinement and then shackled and brought to an adult detention center.”
She continued, “There are laws in place that they don’t seem to be following … They wouldn’t let me in, again, so the only glimpse I got of the children was over the fence … Please educate and empower yourselves. Use your voices; we can all make a difference. If you have any of these detention centers in your community, please show up. Ask to be let inside. Make sure they know that people are watching and that we’re going to continue to watch and as always, thank you for your support and your love. I feel honored to be able to use my platform in this capacity. That’s all. Let’s all use our voices to try to get these centers shut down.’
Newsweek reported on Milano’s visit, and noted something she may have been unaware of: “Homestead is the biggest shelter for migrant children in the country, according to NPR and houses kids ranging in ages from 13 to 17. It was opened during former President Barack Obama’s administration, closed and then reopened in March 2018.”
The incoming head of Customs & Border Patrol, Max Morgan, told CBS on Tuesday, “Are there issues that we can improve and get better? Absolutely. That’s why I welcome the [inspector general]. I welcome non-governmental organizations to come in and do a check and balance. We should always try to get better but to say that it’s a systemic, egregious problem across the board, that’s just not true and the facts don’t support that.”