Outrage: Administration may have handed thousands of illegal alien kids over to human traffickers
A shocking report from the Senate regarding the fate of hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied minors who entered the US illegally.
The government agency responsible for settling the children with sponsors and groups failed to adequately vet them. The result is that an unknown number of illegal alien children were placed with human traffickers.
The Obama administration failed to protect thousands of Central American children who have flooded across the U.S. border since 2011, leaving them vulnerable to traffickers and to abuses at the hands of government-approved caretakers, a Senate investigation has found.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, failed to do proper background checks of adults who claimed the children, allowed sponsors to take custody of multiple unrelated children, and regularly placed children in homes without visiting the locations, according to a 56-page investigative report released Thursday.
And once the children left federally funded shelters, the report said, the agency permitted their adult sponsors to prevent caseworkers from providing them post-release services.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) initiated the six-month investigation after several Guatemalan teens were found in a dilapidated trailer park near Marion, Ohio, where they were being held captive by traffickers and forced to work at a local egg farm. The boys were among more than 125,000 unaccompanied minors who have surged into the United States since 2011, fleeing violence and unrest in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
It is intolerable that human trafficking — modern-day slavery — could occur in our own backyard,” Portman said in a written statement. “What makes the Marion cases even more alarming is that a U.S. government agency was responsible for delivering some of the victims into the hands of their abusers.”
The report concluded that administration “policies and procedures were inadequate to protect the children in the agency’s care.”
HHS spokesman Mark Weber said in a statement that the agency would “review the committee’s findings carefully and continue to work to ensure the best care for the children we serve.”
The report was released ahead of a hearing Thursday before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which Portman co-chairs with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). It detailed nearly 30 cases where unaccompanied children had been trafficked after federal officials released them to sponsors or where there were “serious trafficking indicators.”
“HHS places children with individuals about whom it knows relatively little and without verifying the limited information provided by sponsors about their alleged relationship with the child,” the report said.
It goes without saying that no one will be fired because of this report. Apparently, deliberately handing kids over to people the government knows nothing about who then turn out to be human traffickers is just business as usual for the Obama administration.
Meanwhile, children are suffering unspeakable degradation. How many children are similarly trapped is unknown. But given the slap-dash efforts to vet sponsors to make sure they are who they say they are, it's possible that thousands of kids are being sold into virtual slavery.
The administration was so intent on moving the kids out of detention centers, that it became the overriding goal rather than finding decent homes of the children. But it also raises questions about the vetting of refugees coming from the Middle East. If the government can't keep kids out of the hands of human traffickers, how are they going to keep terrorists out of the country?