Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is blasting President Joe Biden and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra for their “turning a blind eye” to a labor trafficking pipeline that now includes many Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) after they were released into the United States by the federal government.
Since Biden took office, HHS officials have lost contact with some 85,000 UACs after releasing them into the U.S. interior to adult sponsors — the overwhelming majority of whom are not their biological parents.
Reports indicate that top Biden officials such as Becerra and Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice have ignored warnings that UACs are ending up in a widespread labor trafficking pipeline as well as sex trafficking and general abuse at the hands of their adult sponsors.
In a letter to Becerra, Blackburn asked point blank, “Have you turned a blind eye to your department’s role in child trafficking?”
Biden’s lax immigration enforcement policies, Blackburn wrote, are far from the “humane and compassionate” agenda that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has repeatedly claimed that the agency is carrying out.
“As you know, many of these children who have been placed with sponsors have been forced to work dangerous jobs across the country in violation of child labor laws,” Blackburn wrote:
By losing contact with over 85,000 children, your Department has failed to uphold its basic obligation to ensure that these children are placed with sponsors who will protect them. Even more troubling, initial reporting indicated that case management officers were aware of children in exploitative situations, yet the Department did not act.
Democrats have spent years telling the American people that their immigration policies are compassionate and humane, but there is nothing compassionate about turning a blind eye to the victimization of children.
During a Senate Finance Committee hearing last week, Becerra said he had “no idea” whether 85,000 UACs had lost contact with HHS officials, suggesting he had never heard the figure before it was published in the New York Times.
Blackburn wrote that following Becerra’s testimony, a Times report alleged that HHS “staffers and outside contractors informed HHS multiple times that migrant children appeared to be at risk of exploitation, and they even presented evidence that allegedly reached [Becerra’s] desk.”
“Not only were these individuals ignored, but they were punished for daring to challenge you,” Blackburn wrote to Becerra. “This reporting directly contradicts your previous testimony.”
Now, Blackburn wants answers as to when HHS officials learned of “mishandling and exploitation of migrant children” along with providing all correspondence that Becerra and other officials have had about the exploitation of UACs.
Biden has tripled the inflow of UACs to the U.S., coinciding with an explosion in child labor trafficking as well as abuse and neglect. In Biden’s first two years, close to 300,000 UACs arrived at the border and were released into the U.S. interior with adult sponsors, only a fraction of whom were their biological sponsors.