Biden administration has lost track of a third of released migrant kids: report
Data show that thousands of children are unaccounted for
The U.S. government has reportedly lost touch with thousands of illegal immigrant children whom they released from custody.
According to data obtained by Axios via a Freedom of Information Act request, roughly on-in-three calls made to migrant children who had been released to their sponsors between January and May of this year went unanswered, suggesting the United States is not adequately protecting those children from harm.
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"This is very dismaying," Mark Greenberg, a former Obama administration official told Axios about the data. "If large numbers of children and sponsors aren’t being reached, that’s a very big gap in efforts to help them."
Care providers made 14,600 calls to check in with minors released from Department of Health and Human Services shelters and taken in by relatives and vetted sponsors. Workers were unable to reach 4,890 of those migrants or their sponsors. The percentage of calls that went unanswered jumped from 26% in January to 37% in May.
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The data also show that the government is not making as many calls as it should. Thirty-two thousand children were released into the United States from HHS shelters, but the government placed fewer than 15,000 follow up calls.
"While we make every effort to voluntarily check on children after we unite them with parents or sponsors and offer certain post-unification services, the oversight of the vast majority of kids is outside of our legal obligation," an HHS spokesperson told Fox News. "Many parents or sponsors do not return phone calls or do not want to be reached by federal authorities."
Former President Donald Trump was widely criticized in 2018 after it was discovered that his administration couldn’t provide the whereabouts of 1,500 migrant children released over a 3-month period.
Since Biden took office in January, over a million illegal immigrants have been encountered at the southern border, sparking a humanitarian crisis that Republicans argue has put migrant children at risk.
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"Unaccompanied children are passing through our border with the help of strangers and members of cartels, putting these children at an increased risk of sexual abuse and human trafficking," Sen. Thom Tillis said earlier this year after sponsoring the End Child Trafficking Now Act. "This is completely unacceptable, and the Biden administration’s response has been severely lacking."
Reports of sexual abuse against migrants crossing the southern border have been rampant over the last few years, and a Fusion report in 2014 concluded that 80% of women and young girls are raped, often by guides and sponsors, crossing into the United States.