Immigration

Read the entire hurricane plan for the Homestead detention center

HHS releases video of Homestead minor shelter

The Department of Health and Human Services released video it said is from the shelter in Homestead where 1,200 immigrant children were being held, including dozens separated from their parents.
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The Department of Health and Human Services released video it said is from the shelter in Homestead where 1,200 immigrant children were being held, including dozens separated from their parents.

The Miami Herald has obtained official copies of the federal government’s detailed hurricane plan for the Homestead Detention Center.

The plan, which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would not provide to the Herald, outlines how hundreds of children would be flown or bused to shelters across the country if a tropical storm or hurricane approaches South Florida.

On Friday, the Miami Herald reported that the plan was released to several members of Congress. The release of the 18-page document comes roughly after two months of HHS saying the agency had a plan in place, but that it couldn’t be shared because it was a secret.

According to plan, the goal is to evacuate children from Homestead before Miami-Dade County orders an evacuation of the general public. The reason: “to reduce the burden on local infrastructure and the enhanced availability of transportation assets.”

Should a tropical storm be on the radar, the government’s game plan is to launch “pre-evacuation” efforts by reducing the number of children to 500. As of Saturday, the census is about 800.

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Cited in the plan are stats provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center predicts a “near-normal hurricane season” is most likely this year, HHS said.

NOAA’s forecast predicts a range of nine to 15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which four to eight could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph of high) including two to four major hurricanes (category 3, 4, or 5 with winds 111 mph or higher),” the document says.

The decision to evacuate in case of a hurricane would need to be made no less than six days prior to landfall. In the case of a tropical storm, all children would need to be evacuated no less than three days in advance.

The document does not specify which migrant shelters the children would be transported to.

Hurricane season in South Florida runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, with peak activity typically occurring mid- August through late October

The camp — which houses children as young as 13 — is located in the second most vulnerable hurricane zone in coastal South Florida, an area that bore the full fury of Category 5 Hurricane Andrew.

Here’s the full plan:

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Monique O. Madan covers immigration and enterprise; she previously covered breaking news and local government. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and The Dallas Morning News. She is currently a Reveal Fellow at the Center for Investigative Reporting. She graduated from Miami Dade College and Emerson College in Boston. A note to tipsters: If you want to send Monique confidential information, her email and mailbox are open. The address is 3511 NW 91st Ave, Doral, FL 33172. You can also direct message her on social media and she’ll provide encrypted Signal details.
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