Alyssa Milano showed up unannounced to a Florida detention center for migrant children on Wednesday and declared to the guards “I’m an actress-activist.”
In a live-stream of the stunt, Milano informed security at the Homestead center near Miami that she was there with a group on a “community visit.” She demanded immediate access to the facility so she could inspect the conditions.
However, if the guards were impressed, they gave no indication. They rejected her demands and told her to make an appointment with management.
Displeased, Milano recorded a live video asking her fans on social media to “tell them to let me in.” She also urged viewers to visit detention centers themselves.
“We gotta shut down these detention centers,” she said, vowing to return Thursday morning.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) June 26, 2019
On Wednesday night, Milano live-tweeted from the Democratic presidential debate in Miami. As of Thursday afternoon, she had made no mention of returning to the detention center.
Homestead is the largest detention center for migrant children in the country and the only one that is privately run by a for-profit corporation. Originally opened under the Obama administration, it houses some 2,300 migrant teenagers, aged 13 to 18.
Alyssa Milano becomes a migrant activist
Milano, a prominent feminist activist, has lately joined liberal outcry against President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies. Earlier this week, she encouraged her 3.6 million Twitter followers to show up at detention centers for “community visits.”
“Some detention centers have what is called ‘community visits’ where you can be allowed in the center. This is the loophole I used to get into the Karnes Father/Son Detention Center,” Milano tweeted Sunday, referring to a Texas shelter. “I showed up & they had to let me in.”
“Hold them accountable,” she added. “Show up. Let them know you’re watching.”
Some detention centers have what is called “community visits” where you can be allowed in the center. This is the loophole I used to get into the Karnes Father/Son Detention Center. I showed up & they had to let me in.
Hold them accountable. Show up. Let them know your watching.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) June 23, 2019
However, she apparently didn’t read a Newsweek report inspired by her call to action, which advised against just dropping by detention centers.
“Community visits are typically for those visiting family or friends, or if you are part of a community group that does social visits to individuals in detention,” Robyn Barnard, an attorney with Human Rights First, told the magazine. “You can’t just show up and say, ‘Let me in,’ in general. You would need the name or identity information of someone detained at the facility in order to be allowed in.”
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- Alyssa Milano’s community visit to a Florida detention center on June 26, 2019.: Screen grab.