Monday, August 21, 2023

The Biden Administration Lost Contact With 85,000 Children. Here’s How Congress Is Trying to Find Them; Grothman Introduces Bill to Protect Migrant Children

Photo: Herika Martinez/AFP/Getty Images
The Biden Administration Lost Contact With 85,000 Children. Here’s How Congress Is Trying to Find Them:
Congressman Chris Smith is preparing to introduce legislation that will require the federal government to locate the 85,000 migrant children it has lost contact with within the U.S.
“This is all about accountability and effective interventions for these kids,” Smith, R-N.J., told The Daily Signal.
The draft legislation is focused on “locating, establishing contact with, [conducting] wellness checks, and [investigating] trafficking” of the 85,000 migrant children, Smith said.
In February, The New York Times reported that even though the Department of Health and Human Services checks on all unaccompanied minors who cross the border illegally “by calling them a month after they begin living with their sponsors,” data obtained by the newspaper “showed that over the last two years, the agency could not reach more than 85,000 children.”
“Overall, the agency lost immediate contact with a third of migrant children,” the Times reported.
Smith expressed concern that the individuals who agree to act as sponsors for the children within the U.S. could take advantage of the lack of accountability and exploit the children.
Unaccompanied migrant children remain in the custody of HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement until they are placed with a parent or sponsor, but the agency “does not monitor or track the whereabouts of children after they are released from our care,” Robin Dunn Marcos, director of the office, told members of Congress during a hearing in April.
???@RepGrothman GRILLS witness about the Biden Administration losing track of 85,000 unaccompanied alien children.

— Oversight Committee (@GOPoversight) April 18, 2023
The children with whom the Biden administration has lost contact “need to be protected from … these terrible traffickers who will exploit them, rape them, put them into forced labor of some kind,” Smith said. “And so, it’s a very real problem that’s happening all over the world, [and] happening right here in our backyard.” --->READ MORE HERE
Grothman Introduces Bill to Protect Migrant Children:
Congressmen Glenn Grothman (WI-06) and Lance Gooden (TX-05) have introduced H.R. 4869, the Migrant Child Safety Act, a bill to protect unaccompanied migrant children inside the United States by accurately identifying and screening sponsors.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is tasked with placing unaccompanied migrant children with sponsors deemed capable of caring for the child’s well-being. However, reports indicate that ORR has prioritized the speedy release of unaccompanied migrant children rather than their safety. As a result, thousands of migrant children have been placed with sponsors that have no relation to the child or may be in the country illegally. What’s more, the ORR has lost contact with 85,000 children they have placed with these sponsors.
“President Biden’s reckless open-border policies have created the worst humanitarian crisis at the Southern border in our nation’s history. Make no mistake, this is a crisis that both empowers the cartels and encourages the trafficking of migrant children into the United States,” said Grothman. “Unprecedented levels of illegal border crossings, incentivized by the Biden Administration’s policies, have led to historic encounters of unaccompanied migrant children that have overwhelmed ORR and endangered migrant children.
“These children are already subject to heinous abuses by Mexican Drug Cartels on their journey to America, but once they enter the country, the Biden Administration’s lackluster ORR is rushing to send kids off with poorly-vetted sponsors they are often not related to. Instead of channeling children to uncertain or possibly dangerous living conditions, my bill will ensure that ORR is better equipped to reunite these children with a parent or locate a dependable sponsor to care for their safety.
“How in the world can the Biden Administration claim to care about families if they are admitting countless children into our country without making every effort reuniting these kids with their parents?
“If President Biden truly cared about the well-being of migrants, he would show tremendous concern for the thousands of migrant children who are suffering because of his policies. We cannot adequately protect and defend migrant children, Border Patrol agents, or American communities until we take back control of the border and replace our broken system with one that is thoughtful and in the best interest of prospective immigrants.”
"The current state of affairs within the Office of Refugee Resettlement is unacceptable,” said Congressman Gooden. “The children in their care are not products to be processed and discharged hastily. The Migrant Child Safety Act will address rampant disregard for the well-being of migrant children through stricter processing procedures. This legislation will put stringent checks and balances in place to ensure children are placed with familial relations and not in the hands of human traffickers.”
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