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Josh Hawley Calls on FBI to Launch ‘Full-Scale’ Probe into 85K Migrant Children Missing on Joe Biden’s Watch

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is calling on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to launch a “full-scale” investigation into the whereabouts of 85,000 migrant children who have been released into the United States under President Joe Biden but whom the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has lost all contact with.

Since Biden took office, HHS officials have lost contact with some 85,000 Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) released to adult sponsors after arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. At the same time, Biden officials have reportedly ignored warnings that many UACs are ending up in a widespread labor trafficking pipeline as well as sex trafficking.

On Friday, Hawley wrote a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, urging him to launch an investigation into missing UACs as well as their adult sponsors who are “holding them in modern-day slavery.”

“… some 345,000 children have come across the border unaccompanied since early 2021,” Hawley writes:

We now know tens of thousands of these children have been caught up in massive child smuggling and child labor operations. I am sure you have seen recent reports in the New York Times that HHS has lost touch with as many as 85,000 migrant children. Thousands of these children are now the prey of child labor criminals. [Emphasis added]

The Biden administration is morally responsible for their fate. The President lifted Title 42 restrictions on unaccompanied children in early 2021. Reporting reveals that HHS loosened vetting processes for sponsors and retaliated against whistleblowers who raised these concerns. As a result, thousands of children have been handed over to modern-day slave traders. They are forced into factory work under punishing conditions. They are forced to make auto parts, process meat in slaughterhouses, and reroof houses. They are denied food, education, and sometimes fear for their lives. They suffer sexual violence. In a country that claims to value the rule of law and the protection of children, this is unconscionable. [Emphasis added]

In response to the scandal, Hawley wrote, “the FBI must mount a full-scale effort to locate these missing children and to bring to justice the criminals who are holding them in modern-day slavery.”

“The FBI must also investigate HHS and the Department of Homeland Security for their role in facilitating the exploitation of these children, in violation of the law,” he continued.

This week, during a House Homeland Security subcommittee hearing hosted by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), an HHS whistleblower detailed how the federal government acts as a “middleman” for a “multi-billion-dollar child trafficking operation.”

The process begins, the whistleblower said, at the border, when UACs are first encountered. They are then taken into DHS custody before being sent to HHS custody. From there, HHS places UACs with adult sponsors, but experts claim those sponsors are largely unvetted.

In some cases, adult sponsors have been allowed to take in 10, 20, 30, and 40 UACs, the whistleblower said, without any concerns from HHS. The whistleblower went on say that many of these sponsors are members of criminal organizations:

I discovered that children are being trafficked through a sophisticated network that begins with being recruited in their home country, smuggled to the U.S. border, and ends when [the Office of Refugee Resettlement] delivers a child to sponsors — some sponsors are criminals and traffickers and members of Transnational Criminal Organizations.

Biden has tripled the inflow of UACs to the U.S., coinciding with an explosion in child labor trafficking as well as abuse and neglect. In Biden’s first two years, close to 300,000 UACs arrived at the border and were released into the U.S. interior with adult sponsors, only a fraction of which were their biological sponsors.

 

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