Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent: Migrant Kids ‘Should Not Be Pawns'

Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho is raising concerns that the hundreds of migrant children possibly being held at the temporary shelter in Homestead are not going to school right now.

Carvalho said he wrote a scathing letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Tuesday for a number of reasons, from moral outrage to practical concerns about educating the kids who end up in Miami-Dade.

"I think we're dealing with an issue of morality in addition to a legal issue," Carvalho told NBC 6 Wednesday.

Miami-Dade Schools has the responsibility, argues Carvalho, to educate any of these school-age children who are being held in the Homestead federal shelter. He points out that two years ago, when there was an influx of kids from Central America, the Obama administration notified Miami-Dade Schools and arrangements were made to give those kids educational services. He says nothing like that has happened this time.

Carvalho also says the enforcement of immigration laws isn’t the problem, it’s the forced separation of children at the border which is fueling the outrage, which he says falls squarely on President Trump’s shoulders.

"The president has the power with his pen and his voice right from the White House, devoid of legislation, to terminate this emotional, psychological abuse of children and eliminate the separation of parents from children, the president has the unique power to do that," Carvalho said. "I don't see it as a legislative issue, I see the legislative issue quite frankly as a mechanism to obtain concessions specific to other provisions of immigration law or border security. Children should not be pawns in that game."

Carvalho says the Trump administration is using the crisis to extract concessions from Democrats on an immigration policy agreement which would include billions of dollars to build a border wall. Democrats have replied that they won’t budge on that issue because Trump repeatedly has said Mexico would pay for the wall.

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