It’s ironic that some of the illegal immigrant minors that the Obama administration claims to have rescued from “persistent violence in Central America” have been placed in abusive homes by the U.S. government. Some have even been forced to become prostitutes or personal slaves, according to a scathing Senate investigation that’s ignited bipartisan fury.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was assigned with placing the tens of thousands of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) that bombarded the country beginning in 2014 and some actually ended up with human traffickers. Others have been exploited for their labor and dozens sexually assaulted, starved or forced to work as practical slaves.
In one case six Guatemalan minors were placed with human traffickers that forced them to live in a decrepit trailer and work 12 hours a day on egg farms in the rural Ohio town of Marion. Another Guatemalan boy was forced to work 12 hours a day for his Virginia sponsor to repay a $6,500 smuggling debt and a boy from El Salvador was released to his abusive father even though the kid told authorities the father had a history of beating him.
Turns out HHS doesn’t bother vetting the UAC sponsors, allowing some to house multiple unrelated children which experts say is a strong indicator of human trafficking. “HHS places children with individuals about whom it knows relatively little and without verifying the limited information provided by sponsors about their alleged relationship with the child,” the Senate report states, adding that “policies and procedures were inadequate to protect the children in the agency’s care.”
The Senate probe also found that HHS did not conduct background checks on all relevant adults during the time period examined. “HHS’s longstanding policy was to conduct background checks only on the sponsor, and not on any other adult listed as living in the sponsor’s home or on the person designated as the “backup” sponsor. And if that check turned up a criminal history, HHS policy was that no criminal conviction could disqualify a sponsor, no matter how serious.”
The findings of the Senate inquiry have outraged both Democrats and Republicans, who are demanding that the administration protect the children. At a hearing last week Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill told the story of a 16-year-old girl who was placed with a man claiming to be her cousin. The man was completely unrelated to the girl and had paid for her to come to the U.S. as a mail-order bride. The Democrat senator fired off a few other atrocities and said similar examples fill the case files reviewed by her committee…“Vulnerable and traumatized minors abused by their sponsors or forced to engage in backbreaking labor for little or no pay while being housed in unsanitary and dangerous conditions.”
Republican Rob Portman, the Ohio Senator who along with McCaskill spearheaded the investigation, said “It is intolerable that human trafficking — modern-day slavery — could occur in our own backyard. But what makes the Marion cases even more alarming is that a U.S. government agency was responsible for delivering some of the victims into the hands of their abusers.”
When tens of thousands of UACs suddenly began entering the U.S. through Mexico in the summer of 2014, the administration blamed it on the inhumane and dangerous conditions in their homeland, specifically “persistent violence” in the region. Most have come from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and Judicial Watch has followed the influx closely and produced a number of in-depth reports based on reliable sources directly involved with the situation. From the moment the first few hundred UACs crossed into the U.S., Homeland Security sources told JW that the influx wasn’t spontaneous but rather a product of Obama amnesty rumors that had circulated in the three Central American countries. One Homeland Security source told JW “it’s all over the news in Central America that if you bring your kids north you have a free pass.” Border Patrol agents told JW that UACs were claiming amnistía (amnesty) upon their arrival.