Did the government really 'lose' 1,500 illegal alien children?
I wrote about this story two days ago, when CNN first reported that the government had "lost" 1,500 illegal alien children.
Well, they aren't lost in any real sense. But that hasn't stopped the media from reporting it.
Steven Wagner, a top official with the Department of Health and Human Services, disclosed the number to a Senate subcommittee last month while discussing the state of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) that oversees the care of unaccompanied immigrant children.
Wagner is the acting assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. ORR is a program of the Administration for Children and Families.
Note first that this story is a month old – a month. You would think that if the government really had "lost" 1,500 kids, it would be headline news immediately.
CNN reported earlier this month that, in his testimony, Wagner said during the last three months of 2017, the ORR lost track of nearly 1,500 immigrant children it had placed in the homes of sponsors.
Wagner's statement has attracted more attention amid reports that immigrant children are being separated from their parents at the US border.
Note also that these are two entirely separate and distinct issues. The "lost" children are unaccompanied illegal alien kids who show up at the border. The family separation issue is entirely different. The law requires that the children be transferred within two days from immigration authorities to HHS. Obviously, if they arrive with their parents, they aren't "lost."
It turns out that the "lost" children are placed with sponsors. When DHS does a wellness check on these sponsors a couple of months later, some apparently disappear with the kids. Many if not most of the sponsors are illegal themselves and may not want any contact with immigration authorities. The overwhelming majority of sponsors are either parents or close relatives.
Between October and December 2017, Wagner told the subcommittee, the ORR reached out to 7,635 unaccompanied children to check on them. But the ORR "was unable to determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,475 children," Wagner testified. An additional 28 had run away.
That's more than 19% of the children that were placed by the ORR. But Wagner said HHS is not responsible for the children.
"I understand that it has been HHS's long-standing interpretation of the law that ORR is not legally responsible for children after they are released from ORR care," Wagner said.
He is factually correct. But do you really think that matters?
Not a word from CNN about the probability that many of the sponsors are illegal themselves and don't want to be "found."
I find it ironic that the same people who complain about raids on illegal aliens now say the government efforts to keep track of them are deficient. Once released into the population, illegals do their best to disappear. But we don't hear much advocacy for the government to keep close tabs on those illegals who are released – except when it's convenient to accuse the administration of being heartless.
This is a month-old, made up issue from the usual open borders suspects.