NASHVILLE, TENN. – U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra detailing the Department’s neglect of unaccompanied migrant minors and requesting any documentation he has received on the potential exploitation of 85,000 children who have gone missing under the Biden administration’s watch.
HHS Has Failed To Uphold Its Obligation To Protect Unaccompanied Minors
“President Biden’s border crisis has placed illegal immigrants in dangerous—and often deadly— situations, and the over 250,000 unaccompanied minors who have crossed our southern border over the last two years are no exception. 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. 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.”
Reports Indicate Becerra Directly Ignored Concerns About Migrant Child Exploitation
“When questioned at the hearing, you indicated that you were not aware that children were being forced to work in dangerous jobs for long hours, nor were you familiar with the fact that 85,000 children had gone missing under your watch. While you claimed you were uninformed about this situation, reporting following your testimony indicates a grave dereliction of duty. According to the New York Times, 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 your desk. Not only were these individuals ignored, but they were punished for daring to challenge you. This reporting directly contradicts your previous testimony.”
“These allegations of the Department ignoring these concerns are deeply troubling, but even if they are untrue, the Department is clearly guilty of gross incompetence… When did you learn of the mishandling and exploitation of migrant children who were released by HHS to unvetted sponsors? Are you aware that, under federal law, it is a crime to “knowingly and willfully” make a “materially false” statement to Congress? Please provide any reports, correspondence, or other documentation that you received regarding the potential exploitation of these migrant children.”
Click here to view the full letter.