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Alex Azar says HHS is trying to reunite migrant children at Homestead center "as quickly as possible"

HHS secretary on Homestead center
HHS secretary on Homestead center 00:52

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told CBS News his department is trying to "take care" of the migrant children being held at the controversial detention center in Homestead, Florida, and reunite them with family members "as quickly as possible." CBS News got an exclusive look inside facility.

The for-profit detention center holds around 2,300 children, who have been placed in the care of HHS after being detained at the border. Immigration attorneys filed a brief in federal court last month with testimonials from children there. Some who speak indigenous languages said there aren't any staff members who can speak with them. Others described crying and missing their families.

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Manuel Bojorquez with HHS Secretary Alex Azar CBS News

"One of the things they allege is prison-like rules where children, according to one attorney, expressed fear and anxiety around the enforcement of shelter rules and in some cases were told that if they stepped out of line it could affect their immigration case. Is that happening," Manuel Bojorquez asked.
 
"Well, let me be really clear. That would be completely improper. That would be completely improper. And the staff here have been instructed after that allegation was made that any such behaviors or statements would be wrong and subject to discipline," Azar said.
 
Several Democratic presidential candidates have visited the center, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Eric Swalwell, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. She wasn't allowed inside but stood on a stepladder and looked over a gate. Warren said she saw children walking in single-file lines. 

Watch more of the interview with Secretary Azar on "CBS Evening News," Friday, June 28, 6:30 p.m. ET.

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