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Biden’s Border Crisis: 85,000 Migrant Children Go Missing Under Biden Administration

missing migrant children

Why aren’t more people concerned about the missing migrant children under the Biden administration?

By Victor Huyke
Conquistador News editor, special to Wisconsin Right Now

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) in the United States, an estimated 460,000 children are reported missing yearly.

However, this is only a tiny snapshot of the problem. In many countries, statistics on missing children are not even available, and, unfortunately, even available statistics may not be accurate due to: under-reporting, under-recognition, incorrect data entry on case information, and deletion of records once a case is closed. Making it hard to create profiles to identify likely suspects in missing children cases.

But what if the suspect is the US Government? Who do you turn to for help?

More than 85,000 children have been reported missing at the US border for more than two years. Many of these children were held in Immigration Detention Centers. Yet somehow, these children made their way out of these detention centers and into third-shift jobs in 20 different US States, including Wisconsin.

Children as young as 12 years old were found working in dangerous jobs.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is a program of the Administration for Children and Families, an office within the United States Department of Health and Human Services, created with the passing of the United States Refugee Act of 1980.

ORR offers support for refugees seeking haven in the United States, including victims of human trafficking, those seeking asylum from persecution, survivors of torture and war, and unaccompanied children.

ORR was tasked with finding sponsors for immigrant children entering the US. “I thought I was going to help place children in loving homes. Instead, I discovered that children are being trafficked through a sophisticated network that begins with being recruited in [their] home country, smuggled to the US border, and ends when ORR delivers a child to a Sponsors,” said Tara Lee Rodas, a Federal Employee for Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement. “Some sponsors are criminals and traffickers and members of Transnational Criminal Organizations. Some sponsors view children as commodities and assets to be used for earning income – this is why we are witnessing an explosion of labor trafficking.”

Rodas was invited to testify at “The Biden Border Crisis: Exploitation of Unaccompanied Alien Children,” held by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement on April 26, 2023. Rodas worked as a Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement at the California Pomona Fairplex Emergency Intake Site. Her job was to unite the unaccompanied children with their “sponsors” on the US side of the border.

“I’ve witnessed firsthand the horrors of child trafficking and exploitation. My life will never be the same. But I have hope. I’m counting on you. It’s my hope you’ll take action to end this crisis and safeguard the lives of these vulnerable children,” said Rodas.

Rodas said she saw children who spoke only Mayan united with sponsors who spoke only Spanish. She saw single apartment buildings that had taken in up to 50 children. She saw single sponsors collecting children from different sites using several addresses.
“Whether intentional or not, it can be argued that the US Government has become the middleman in a large scale, multi-billion-dollar, child trafficking operation run by bad actors seeking to profit off the lives of children,” she said.

A recent New York Times investigation reported that many of these children when they get to the US, are forced by their so-called “sponsors” into dangerous jobs with fake identifications.

The article titled “Alone and Exploited, Migrant Children Work Brutal Jobs Across the US.” stated that “Arriving in record numbers, they’re ending up in dangerous jobs that violate child labor laws — including in factories that make products for well-known brands like Cheetos and Fruit of the Loom.”

Hannah Dreier of the Times traveled to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Virginia and spoke to more than 100 migrant child workers in 20 states.

Dreier wrote in the article, “These workers are part of a new economy of exploitation: Migrant children, who have been coming into the United States without their parents in record numbers, are ending up in some of the most punishing jobs in the country. “This shadow workforce extends across industries in every state, flouting child labor laws that have been in place for nearly a century. Twelve-year-old roofers in Florida and Tennessee. Underage slaughterhouse workers in Delaware, Mississippi, and North Carolina. Children sawing planks of wood on overnight shifts in South Dakota.”

In Wisconsin, a Wisconsin-based cleaning service, Packers Sanitation Services (PSSI), was fined $1.5 million after hiring minors in 13 meatpacking plants. According to Steve Karnowski from the Associated Press, “The US Department of Labor says one of the county’s largest cleaning services for food processing companies — based in southwestern Wisconsin — employed more than 100 children in dangerous jobs at 13 meatpacking plants in eight states.”

But this is not the first time PSSI has been fined or accused of violating child labor laws.

Back in November of 2022, an article written by Karl Ebert from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, states “According to a civil complaint filed by the US Labor Department in the US District Court of Nebraska, Packers Sanitation Services Inc. employed more than 30 children, ages 13 to 17, as cleaners in JBS USA meatpacking plants in Grand Island, Nebraska, and Worthington, Minnesota, and at Turkey Valley Farms in Marshall, Minnesota. Federal labor law prohibits the use of workers under age 18 on killing floors or on mechanized processing equipment because the work is a federally-designated “hazardous occupation.”

In a statement, PSSI said it has an “absolute company-wide prohibition against the employment of anyone under the age of 18 and zero tolerance for any violation of that policy — period.”

The company believes underage workers may have misrepresented their ages for employment.

PSSI paid $1.5 million in civil money penalties.

“I was shocked to learn that no effort is made to get these children back to their homes, and very little effort is made vetting the so-called sponsors of these children and very little interest in following up on their welfare once they are abandoned to these so-called sponsors,” said Subcommittee Chairman, Congressman Tom McClintock during his opening statement of the Biden Border Crisis subcommittee hearing.

“We now know that the administration has simply lost track of over 85,000 of these children. In September 2022, Axios reported that “roughly one-in-three follow-up calls made to released migrant kids or their sponsors between January and May went unanswered,” said Congressman McClintock.

US Senator Josh Hawley sent a letter to Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray, demanding a full-scale investigation to locate the 85,000 migrant children that have gone missing under the Biden administration while also bringing any child labor criminals holding them in modern-day slavery to justice.

“According to statistics kept by Customs and Border Protection, some 345,000 children have come across the border unaccompanied since early 2021. We now know tens of thousands of these children have been caught up in massive child smuggling and child labor operations,” wrote Senator Hawley. “I am sure you have seen recent reports in the New York Times that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has lost touch with as many as 85,000 migrant children. Thousands of these children are now the prey of child labor criminals.”

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