During the Trump administration, 600 migrant children were placed in protective custody. Most were separated from individuals whom Immigration could not confirm were their parents. The practice was roundly criticized by Democrats and the media even though child welfare advocates said it was the correct practice.
This week it was revealed that of the thousands of children brought into the U.S. illegally under the Biden administration, fully 1/3 have vanished. No one, not Immigration, not the Biden Justice Department, not local immigration courts, know where they are. Many fear they are now in the hands of traffickers.
The revelation was outlined from documents obtained by the liberal media outlet Axios:
Roughly 1 in 3 calls made to released migrant kids or their sponsors between January and May went unanswered. During the first five months of the year, care providers made 14,600 required calls to check in with migrant minors released from HHS-run shelters.
In 4,890 of those instances, workers were unable to reach either the migrant or the sponsor, who often is a relative. The percentage of unsuccessful calls grew, from 26% in January to 37% in May, the data provided to Axios showed.
Axios’ Stef Knight dug a little deeper in a separate report. While the specific data she received ends in May, the months of June and July broke records for illegal border crossing. The problem may have grown exponentially worse by now:
More than 65,000 unaccompanied kids crossed the border illegally during those months, and July set yet another all-time record for young border crossers. That suggests the problem of losing track of released children could be compounded in the months to come.
The data also indicates calls aren’t happening with the frequency they should. Between President Biden’s inauguration and the end of May, HHS discharged 32,000 children and teens — but the government placed fewer than 15,000 follow-up calls, according to the FOIA response.
Are these children being hidden from DHS by family members concerned about possible deportation? Maybe, but Knight suggests that they may be being exploited by labor or sex traffickers. It has happened in the past, she reminds us, which is why HHS is supposed to make those welfare checks on a regular basis:
The government is already investigating whether dozens of migrant children were released to labor traffickers, as Bloomberg Law recently reported.
This happened in 2014 as well, when migrant teens were released to traffickers and forced to work on an egg farm.
Unlike the 600 children who were separated from parents and strangers during the Trump administration to determine familial status, the media continues to ignore the current crisis.