- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 27, 2019

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Beto O’Rourke on Thursday climbed atop a stepladder and peered over the fence of a detention center for Unaccompanied Alien Children, calling out a message of support in Spanish to the youngsters inside.

The former Texas congressman awoke earlier to the unwanted distinction of being widely billed as a loser in the previous night’s Democratic presidential debate.

Looking to regroup, Mr. O’Rourke became the latest in a parade of Democratic hopefuls to make the trek to the UAC detention center that has become a flashpoint in the illegal immigration crisis.

“America means something and we are losing that meaning every day that this continues,” Mr. O’Rourke told a crush of reporters, TV News crews and activists.

His visit took on the hallmarks of a fact-finding mission, as Mr. O’Rourke questioned the leaders of the activist groups who have been holding a vigil outside the camp for more than three months.

“My top priority is to stop these practices, to reunify every family that has been separated and make sure we are truly living our values and living our promise to this country,” he said.

For pro-migrant activists, the facility has become a symbol of the Trump administration’s treatment of children caught in the border crisis. It is also a must-visit stop for Democratic presidential candidates while in Florida for the debates.

The facility is about 30 miles south of Miami, where the 2020 contenders this week are facing off for the first time.

Mr. O’Rourke arrived shortly after the departure of Sen. Bernard Sanders, who toured the facility but did not engage with the news media or the crowd of demonstrators.

On Wednesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Rep. Eric Swalwell of California visited the facility.

Former Obama administration Housing Secretary Julián Castro, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and new age guru Marianne Williamson also plan to visit the site Friday.

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