85000 Kids Missing – The situation described in the news article involves a Republican senator, Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee, pressing the Biden administration, specifically Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, over the alleged mishandling and exploitation of migrant children. According to the article, there are reports of forced labor and whistleblower testimony suggesting that the government is delivering some children to human traffickers.
Senator Blackburn’s letter to Secretary Becerra expresses deep concern about the reports of abuse and exploitation of unaccompanied migrant children who have been placed with unvetted sponsors. The letter highlights the Biden administration’s handling of the border crisis and the potential dangers faced by the over 250,000 unaccompanied minors who have crossed the southern border in the last two years.
The article mentions Secretary Becerra’s previous appearance before the Senate Finance Committee, during which he claimed to be unfamiliar with the statistics regarding the agency’s inability to contact tens of thousands of unaccompanied child migrants released to sponsors after being encountered at the border. Senator Blackburn questions his knowledge of the situation and accuses him of a grave dereliction of duty.
The New York Times report cited in the article reveals an increase in child exploitation, with some children being forced into the labor force to repay their smuggling costs. The report also highlights the difficulty in reaching a significant number of children released to sponsors, with over 85,000 of them unaccounted for and a third of migrant children losing immediate contact with HHS.
Additionally, a whistleblower named Tara Lee Rodas, who worked with HHS at an Emergency Intake Site in Pomona, California, testified before Congress about a “sophisticated network” of human traffickers involved in delivering migrant children. Rodas stated that some sponsors are criminals, traffickers, and members of transnational criminal organizations who view children as commodities for earning income.
Republicans have criticized the Biden administration’s policies, blaming them for the ongoing border crisis and the increase in illegal migration. Democrats, on the other hand, have acknowledged that the issue predates the current administration and have made efforts to increase oversight of sponsors and provide more significant funding.
As of the time of this response, there is no comment from HHS regarding the issue. It is important to note that the information provided is based on the news article you provided, and additional details or developments may have occurred since the article’s publication.