Officials in President Joe Biden’s administration have “ignored or missed” warnings from whistleblowers detailing a surge in Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) being labor trafficked into United States jobs, the New York Times reported.
UACs are detained at the U.S.-Mexico border before being sent to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) custody where most are eventually released to sponsors throughout the nation.
As migrant children were exploited for cheap labor in the US, the people who were supposed to protect these kids looked the other way.
Whistleblowers warned the White House for two years, but were dismissed as thousands of children took on dangerous jobs. https://t.co/n2pXW0mr3v
— Hannah Dreier (@hannahdreier) April 17, 2023
The Times, in an extensive report, spoke with HHS officials as well as whistleblowers and reviewed federal documents to unveil a widespread trend since Biden took office: UACs being labor trafficked, forced to work brutal jobs by their adult sponsors, with little-to-no oversight from the administration.
In a handful of cases noted by the Times, adult male sponsors were found to be sponsoring multiple UACs only to have them take hard-labor jobs once they arrived in their care. Those jobs include construction work, industrial plants with dangerous chemicals, and food processing facilities, among others.
Repeatedly, HHS officials and whistleblowers said they warned the Biden administration of such cases that appeared to be migrant child labor trafficking but received radio silence, and sometimes, employment retribution for doing so.
The Times reported:
But all along, there were signs of the explosive growth of this labor force and warnings that the Biden administration ignored or missed, The Times has found. [Emphasis added]
Again and again, veteran government staffers and outside contractors told the Health and Human Services Department, including in reports that reached Secretary Xavier Becerra, that children appeared to be at risk. The Labor Department put out news releases noting an increase in child labor. Senior White House aides were shown evidence of exploitation, such as clusters of migrant children who had been found working with industrial equipment or caustic chemicals. [Emphasis added]
At least five Health and Human Services staff members filed complaints and said they were pushed out after raising concerns about child safety. [Emphasis added]
More cases reported by the Times show a trend where UAC sponsors use migrant children in their care to pay them back debts. In one case, a 12-year-old UAC boy was made to work after arriving in his sponsor’s care. That same sponsor had already sponsored at least five other UACs.
In February, the Times detailed in a report that HHS has lost contact with more than 85,000 UACs after they were turned over to sponsors living throughout the U.S. interior. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials have seemingly admitted that many of those lost UACs have ended up in the child labor trafficking pipeline.
Last month, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said he had “no idea” whether HHS has lost track of 85,000 UACs in the U.S. — questioning whether the figure is “based in reality or not.” Becerra also told Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) that he “never heard that number of 85,000 … it doesn’t sound at all to be realistic.”
Since Biden took office, a quarter of a million UACs have been resettled with sponsors across American communities. The majority, 64 to 66 percent, are boys, while 72 percent of all UACs are 15 to 18 years old. Only 15 to 16 percent of UACs are babies, toddlers, and pre-teens.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter here.
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