Recent reports show the Biden administration has lost contact with 40% or approximately 45,000 of the more than 114,000 unaccompanied children who have crossed the border illegally this year.
While this fact is startling, it should come as no surprise.
President Biden’s haphazard approach to border security along with his ineptness and apparent unwillingness to properly safeguard the lives of the innocent and exploitable is what led to this catastrophe. Most disturbing is the knowledge that with political will, this matter is easily resolved.
There are three main issues that must be addressed to arrive at a proper resolution.
1. The Flores Settlement must be challenged, or the government must invest in "less restrictive" facilities.
It is a misconception that the government must release children within 20 days of apprehension. While it is true that the government must release children from traditional detention facilities within 20 days, the children may be held in "the least restrictive" facilities possible pending adjudication of their immigration/asylum cases. But the Biden Administration never invested in the types of less restrictive facilities needed prior to abolishing Trump era programs that were working. Instead, the Administration opted to release children to sponsors, thereby reintroducing the catch and release magnet that has drawn so many to our country illegally.
It was only a matter of time before criminal organizations started exploiting the Biden administration’s decision.
Due to the Flores Settlement’s inherent flaws in allowing children to be exploited by criminal organizations, the Trump administration was gearing up to challenge Flores. But a protracted fight in the courts wouldn’t solve the immediate problem, which is one of the reasons President Trump implemented the MPP or "Remain in Mexico Program". The MPP effectively ended the exploitation of children in the United States.
By ending the Remain in Mexico Program the Biden administration opened the door for vulnerable children to once again be exploited. A court recently ruled the Remain in Mexico Program was unlawfully rescinded and must be immediately reimplemented. But to date the Biden administration has not complied. Full compliance would protect children from exploitation in the US.
2. The government must handle crises better.
Federal Agencies are inept during the best of times, and they fall apart during stressful situations (reference Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina, etc.) This is largely because senior officials are very rarely held accountable for failures, and the Biden administration has been the worst I've ever seen.
In the first few months of President Biden’s administration, the Border Patrol apprehended more unaccompanied children than at any point in its history.
The Biden administration wasn’t prepared, and the Border Patrol was forced to hold a good number of these children long past what the law allowed.
Instead of creating a long-term solution, the Biden administration merely cut back on the vetting process of the sponsors to whom children were being released. This decision was made in the name of expediency rather than the safety and well-being of the child.
Even under ideal circumstances vetting is a gamble, but when the government cuts corners it is guaranteed to fail. And failure in this case means the lives of vulnerable children are put in danger.
History has taught us that it is almost certain a good number of the 45,000 children the administration has lost are being forced into the sex industry or are being used for forced labor.
3. We must end catch and release.
Many children who cross the border illegally choose to disappear into what President Obama referred to as the "shadows" of society after release.
When we use the word "child," a very young person is what comes to mind. But in the case of "children" crossing the border illegally, a large number are 15 to 17 years old. Most of these teenagers, who by law are considered children, and realize they do not have a legitimate claim to be in the U.S. As such, they do not want to go through court proceedings just to be deported, so they disappear after their release into the U.S. prior to any court dates.
Upon disappearing they are free to take advantage of the benefits and all the U.S. has to offer relatively risk-free. They know the system and they know that unless they commit a major crime, such as a crime of violence, they will never be deported due to this Administration’s prosecutorial discretion guidelines and because our system is simply overwhelmed.
President Biden has a responsibility to protect our borders. He has failed miserably.
President Biden has a responsibility to protect innocent and vulnerable children. He has failed. Even so, without accountability, it really doesn’t matter to him.
President Trump provided the blueprint for resolving this issue. Rather than following the blueprint, President Biden tossed it in the trash to pander to his open border base.