Biden admin sent illegal immigrant children to homes of suspected criminals, traffickers: report

Children were sent to guardians with suspected criminal history and other red flags to avoid detaining them in government facilities.


Many unaccompanied minors who crossed the border illegally were sent to guardians or sponsors in the US who were using the children for criminal purposes, such as labor trafficking. Government officials repeatedly ignored concerns from lower-level workers who warned about placing minors in certain households, per a report from the Wall Street Journal.

The Biden administration overlooked these concerns in an attempt to avoid the appearance of holding minors in immigration facilities. Per the Flores agreement, minors must be released. Administration officials wanted to avoid the images of the "kids in cages" that were seen under the Trump administration. If the minors were not moved on to sponsor homes, regardless of the safety or security of those homes, Biden would have faced the same issue of overcrowding of detainment centers at the border. Biden's policy has been to allow as many unaccompanied minors into the US as show up at the border on any given day.

HHS admitted that it was ill-prepared to properly handle the many different requests for placing the children in sponsor homes, but they claim that the program has improved and have insisted that guardians are now more properly vetted. In a statement to the WSJ the agency wrote “Child welfare best-practices are clear that children belong with family and not in shelters.”

In 2021, up to 18.700 unaccompanied minors crossed the border each month and HHS set up 14 makeshift shelters in order to house them. Employees at the shelters, however, were not trained in child welfare or trained in how to place children into homes.

The WSJ report added, "Following an internal investigation, the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversaw a network of shelters caring for unaccompanied minors, found gaps in the process to screen temporary guardians. It said in February that 16% of records for children who were released to sponsors in March and April 2021 lacked evidence that a required safety check was conducted."

According to the report, a case worker for one minor placed the child in a home in Florida, but noted at the time "It does not appear safe for the minor to be released to a home environment that was not fully assessed." Days later, a government official dismissed the concern for sending the child to the home in question, per memos reviewed by the WSJ.

In another example, a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy was set to be sent to a man said to be his uncle. The man in question had been charged with a felony three months before for domestic violence. A Health and Human Services case coordinator originally denied the request to have the minor placed in the home, but that was overridden a few days later and the boy was sent to the man. Other government records showed that the boy was not related to the man who claimed to be his uncle. HHS has been designated to place unaccompanied minors with sponsor homes in the US.

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