Federal Watchdog EXPOSES Biden Admin Negligence: Vetting Adults Who Volunteer To House Migrant Children

By Lisa Pelgin | Saturday, 17 February 2024 01:00 AM
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In a recent revelation by a federal watchdog, it was found that the Biden administration failed to adequately vet adults who volunteered to house unaccompanied minors who illegally crossed the southern border.

This alarming finding indicates that in 2021, the administration was unable to properly monitor the homes where they placed a significant influx of undocumented children who arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) discovered that the department did not conduct basic safety checks. The department is mandated to screen adults who volunteer to care for children arriving in the country without parents. However, the analysis concluded that the department could not substantiate that it conducted basic safety checks, such as address or criminal background checks, on some adults who took in children. In approximately a third of the cases reviewed by the federal watchdog, the agency did not have legible documentation for the adults on file.

Haley Lubeck, an analyst for the HHS Office of Inspector General, stated, “We found that children’s case files and sponsor records were not always updated with important documentation and information.” In response to the report, the federal health agency claimed that it has improved the process and the report only provides a limited view into how the agency managed cases “during an unprecedented influx.” The HHS also added that it has introduced new training for its employees handling migrant children.

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The Department of Homeland Security's failure to track undocumented immigrants released across the country is concerning enough, but this situation is even more alarming. This involves placing children with anyone willing to take them in, without asking necessary questions.

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There are established procedures to protect minors in what essentially amounts to foster care for those who arrive at the border without a parent or guardian. HHS is supposed to obtain IDs for the adult sponsors who take the children. However, the HHS Office of Inspector General found that in more than a third of the cases analyzed, illegible IDs were submitted. Some of the documents may have been forged, with missing holograms or blurry images.

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In about 16% of the cases, there was no evidence that background checks or address checks had been conducted. These are considered basic safety checks. For every five cases, HHS failed to follow up to check on the children it placed. In some instances, no one checked on them for months.

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HHS is required to have a follow-up call with every child and their sponsor between 30 to 37 days after placement. However, in cases where the agency failed to follow up with the children, it took on average about 122 days for a caseworker to reach out, according to the OIG’s analysis.

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The OIG’s investigations have previously found that the administration rushed to respond to the migrant surge in 2021, failing to adequately train staff dealing with the cases of children.

This situation is deeply troubling. It bears the hallmarks of human trafficking and child slavery. It raises the question of what was happening to these children, a question that the Biden administration seemingly cannot answer.

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An NBC News report in 2023 found that 344 unaccompanied minors were released in 2021 by the Biden administration to live with nonfamily sponsors hosting three or more unaccompanied minors. An HHS Department audit raised concerns that some minors are being sponsored by strangers who could exploit them for child labor.

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The audit, conducted by the agency’s Office of Refugee Resettlement, which oversees the care and release of unaccompanied minors, also showed that the number who were placed with distant relatives or nonfamily sponsors increased from 2021 to 2022, both in real terms and as a percentage of all unaccompanied minors.

Wendy Young, president of Kids in Need of Defense, who advocates for unaccompanied migrant children, said, “We see in our own work that some kids are placed into settings where they may not know the person and they are treated as a second-class citizen in the family and under pressure to work.”

When unaccompanied minors arrive in the U.S., they are processed by HHS and released into the interior of our country. They must be transferred into the custody of an approved sponsor, usually a family member.

According to HHS figures, the total number of unaccompanied migrant children released by ORR since 2012 is more than 600,000, with more than a third released under the Biden administration. In 2021, the government released 138,917 unaccompanied minors. Of those, 11.8%, or 16,456, were released to distant relatives or nonfamily sponsors.

The youngest are the most vulnerable when floods of illegal immigrants pour over the southern border. They are not to blame; it is the adults in their lives who exploit them, whether it is a parent looking to sell their child, a human trafficker making money off desperate families in poor countries, or sex traffickers looking to exploit defenseless children.

The numbers above span the Obama, Trump, and Biden administrations from 2012 until 2021. Obama, to his credit, secured the border to the best of his ability. Progressives labeled him the Deporter-in-Chief. When waves of illegal immigrants crossed the southern border during the Trump administration, he closed the border as best as he could, too. Biden has treated the southern border differently from day one of his administration. If the administration is not tracking adult illegal aliens, it is unlikely that it is tracking children.

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