A stunning report following an investigation of the Obama era Health and Human Services Department and how they dealt with unaccompanied minors when there were too many to keep them in the facilities at the border, has brought to light a number of cases that truly seem like the people at HHS were handing the kids off to human trafficking sorts.
Without enough beds to house the record numbers of young arrivals, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lowered its safety standards during border surges in the last three years to swiftly move children out of government shelters and into sponsors’ homes. The procedures were increasingly relaxed as the number of young migrants rose in response to spiraling gang and drug violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, according to emails, agency memos and operations manuals obtained by AP, some under the Freedom of Information Act.
First, the government stopped fingerprinting most adults seeking to claim the children. In April 2014, the agency stopped requiring original copies of birth certificates to prove most sponsors’ identities. The next month, it decided not to complete forms that request sponsors’ personal and identifying information before sending many of the children to sponsors’ homes. Then, it eliminated FBI criminal history checks for many sponsors.
Building on this horrifying information, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations discovered cases outlined in a New York Magazine article. A dozen children were given to an egg farmer in Ohio and were forced to work in slave-like conditions was one case described. There are suspicions of children ending up in the hands of child molesters as well.
The facts here are that tens of thousands (estimates hover around 90,000) of unaccompanied migrant children from Central and South America were absorbed into the United States with little or no record keeping. HHS did background checks on less than ten percent of the sponsors offering to house and care for these children. HHS claimed not to have the time or money to do this. However, that line item still had a positive balance at the time the investigations were being done.
Something is just not right here. And there are those in leadership who do want to get to the bottom of whatever was going on.
“It is intolerable that human trafficking — modern-day slavery — could occur in our own backyard,” Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio and the chairman of the subcommittee, told the New York Times. “But 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.”
We’re with you, Senator.
Majority & Minority Staff Report – Protecting Unaccompanied Alien Children from Trafficking and Other Abuses 2016-01-282