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Tracking The Disappeared: How 85K Minors Vanished After Biden Admin Sponsorship Placements

 July 10, 2024

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has lost track of at least 85,000 unaccompanied migrant minors after placing them with sponsors, raising alarms over potential human trafficking.

As the Daily Wire reports, whistleblowers testified to a Senate panel and described systemic mismanagement and deliberate negligence in the Biden administration's handling of these cases.

In an effort to avoid detaining children in facilities, the administration transferred 500,000 minors to sponsors' homes, often owned by strangers, leading to significant oversight failures.

Whistleblower Tara Lee Rodas recounted her experiences to the Senate panel, detailing several distressing instances of children being placed in unsuitable and dangerous environments. In one stark example, an urgent advisory to withhold a child from a known gang member in September 2021 was ignored.

Loosened Background Checks Under Fire

The policy shift to ease background checks on sponsors significantly reduced oversight. Sponsors were only contacted once, 30 days later, by a single phone call, resulting in many minors becoming unreachable.

Deborah White, another whistleblower from the Health and Human Services (HHS), revealed that signs of child trafficking were frequently overlooked or ignored by the agency.

Rodas disclosed retaliation faced after reporting cases involving gang-affiliated sponsors. "What keeps me up at night is wondering if Carmen is safe," she remarked, citing multiple instances where children were sent to potential traffickers.

The Senate panel, held unofficially by Republicans due to a lack of cooperation from Senate Democrats, underscored the gravity of these allegations. Sen. Chuck Grassley criticized the Biden administration's immigration policies, which aimed to sidestep the negative imagery of children detained in facilities.

Whistleblowers Describe Rampant Negligence

White described the systemic failures vividly, stating HHS neglected red flags about child safety and trafficking. "Children were being trafficked with billions of taxpayer dollars by a contractor failing to vet sponsors and process children safely, with government officials complicit in it," White alleged.

Further complicating the issue, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) leadership advised staff against scrutinizing sponsors' documents. Whistleblowers like White faced punitive actions, even for actions as simple as contacting the Guatemalan consulate regarding fake documents. "Contacting the Guatemalan consulate in regard to fake documents resulted in a reprimand," White stated.

Children were reportedly placed in abandoned homes and questionable addresses. While HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra downplayed these issues by focusing on custody technicalities, whistleblowers emphasized the grim reality of these children's fates post-placement.

Calls for Accountability and Reform

Sen. Ron Johnson condemned the administration's policies, attributing them to facilitating human trafficking.

"Biden’s open-border policies facilitate the multi-billion dollar business of some of the most evil people on the planet," he declared, urging transparency so the "American people must know the truth about what is happening to the victims of this inhumane open-border policy."

Sen. Bill Cassidy echoed the dire need to protect these vulnerable minors from harm. The Senate panel's revelations highlighted the urgent requirement for a binding review and overhaul of current practices surrounding unaccompanied minors.

The program, ostensibly designed to shield these children from detention facility environments, has unfortunately enabled a situation where they become even more vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation. Background checks on sponsors, especially those who are not relatives, are said to remain perfunctory and insufficient to ensure child safety.

The Administration's Response and Public Outcry

Despite the mounting evidence and testimonies, the Biden administration has been accused of retaliatory measures against those who have brought these issues to light. The Republican-led Senate panel has urged a thorough investigation and reforms to rectify these oversight failures.

To ensure that these children are not abandoned post-placement, stricter guidelines and more comprehensive background checks on sponsors must be implemented. Both Rodas and White's testimonies underscore the significant gap between the program's intended safeguards and the reality faced by these minors.

As the DHS and HHS grapple with the backlash, the stories of lost children like Carmen call for an urgent redressal of systemic flaws. The need to avoid the optics of detaining children should not override their fundamental right to safety and genuine care.

The whistleblower revelations have uncovered deep-rooted issues within the administration's handling of unaccompanied minors. There exists a critical need for both immediate action and long-term policy changes to protect these vulnerable children from exploitation and trafficking.