Alyssa Milano has been turned away from a Florida migrant detention center after turning up unannounced to perform an inspection inside.
The actress arrived at Homestead on Wednesday morning and was joined by a group of activists who demanded to get inside and meet the migrant children being held there.
They were refused entry and told they must submit formal requests, like everyone else.
Milano, who was photographed showing up in a chauffeur-driven Mercedes, streamed videos from the site on Twitter.
In one, she was heard telling some of the government workers blocking her access: ‘I’m Alyssa Milano. I’m an actress/activist and I would love to be let in based on a community visit.’
The agents told her and the group, which also included a state representative from Vermont, to submit requests in writing and turned them away.
Alyssa Milano gets back into her chauffeur-driven Mercedes after being turned away from the Homestead detention facility in southern Florida on Wednesday where she demanded to be let inside to meet the migrant children there and inspect the conditions
Alyssa Milano films herself back in her car after being turned away from the detention center
Undeterred, the group held up cardboard hearts so that the children inside could see the over the fence which surrounds an outdoor area in the facility.
Once back in her car, Milano filmed another video and asked her 3.6million followers to submit requests asking for her to be allowed in tomorrow.
She also asked them to turn up at facilities in their communities and demand to be let inside.
‘We tried to get in, they wouldn’t let us. They gave me a card to email to make a visit request.
‘Maybe we should all email and tell them to let me in. I’m going to go back there tomorrow and again try to be let in.
‘They want me to make an appointment to be let back in, usually that appointment is set up for two weeks later.
‘Of course in that two weeks they have the time to clean up the place. I thought it was important that they just let me in,’ she said.
Milano then described the alleged conditions inside the facility, claiming children were having pencils and pens taken off of them because they were using them to self-harm.
Milano was part of a larger group of protesters who wanted to be let in to see the conditions that others have described as abhorrent
The actress and the others there were all told to put their requests in writing and that it could take two weeks for them to get inside
Photos taken by DailyMail.com show some of the kids inside the migrant center on Wednesday
The kids, all boys, were shown reclining on a makeshift fence on Wednesday
Milano and the protesters held up red cardboard love hearts for the children to see from the other side of the fence
Fighting tears, she said: ‘There are thousands of children at Homestead. They had pencils and pens taken away from them because they were cutting themselves.
‘They are not allowed to have any physical contact with each other to comfort each other even if they’re siblings.
‘The 17-year-old, once they turn 18, they’re put into solitary confinement and then shackled and brought to an adult detention center.’
The conditions she described have been reported by others who visited the sites.
Milano then urged followers to turn up at the centers themselves.
‘Please educate and empower yourselves. Use your voices, we can all make a difference.
‘If you have any of these detention centers in your community, please show up. Ask to be let inside – make sure they know that people are watching and that we’re going to continue to watch and as always.
‘Thank you for your support. And your love. I feel honored to be able to use my platform in this capacity.
‘That’s all. Let’s all use our voices to try to get these centers shut down.’
Milano filmed some of the workers she encountered and told them: ‘We don’t blame this on you’
The atrocious conditions inside other facilities were exposed last week by a group of lawyers who did unexpected drop-ins.
They found children were not being given appropriate food and water based on their needs and many were dirty.
Breastfeeding mothers were not being given adequate care and the hygiene levels were well-below par.
The issue of the government’s treatment of migrant families after they cross the border illegally has resurfaced as the first presidential nominee debates shape up.
They are expected to become a focal point of the debates.
Milano is shown getting back in her car on Wednesday. She has vowed to return to the site
Protester signs at the detention center on Wednesday
In addition to the worrying conditions inside the shelters, there are fears over the many people losing their lives trying to make it into the US.
A harrowing photograph of a Salvadoran father who drowned with his 22-month-old daughter on Sunday in the Rio Grande has become a symbol of the crisis.
Democratic presidential hopefuls Beto O’Rourke and Elizabeth Warren plan to visit Homestead on Wednesday in protest.
They too want to be let inside before the government agents working there have a chance to clean up.
The incoming head of Customs & Border Patrol, Max Morgan, insisted on Tuesday that conditions were not as bad as they were being made out.
‘Are there issues that we can improve and get better? Absolutely.
‘That’s why I welcome the [inspector general]. I welcome non-governmental organizations to come in and do a check and balance.
‘We should always try to get better but to say that it’s a systemic, egregious problem across the board, that’s just not true and the facts don’t support that,’ he told CBS on Tuesday.