WashPost: Joe Biden’s Deputies to Help Young Migrants Reach U.S. Border

A Honduran man seeking asylum in the United States wears a shirt that reads, "Biden please
AP Photo/Gregory Bull

President Joe Biden’s deputies want to streamline the delivery of migrant youths and children in Mexico to U.S. border agencies, according to the Washington Post.

The March 11 article reported:

Biden officials … are also working with advocacy groups to identify minors in northern Mexico who are preparing to cross, so that they can do so safely at a legal port of entry, instead of paying a smuggler to cross the Rio Grande.

Many of the under-18 youth migrants travel with coyotes who negotiate safe passage through cartel-controlled zones near the border. This negotiation process is expensive, but the teenage migrants expect fast-pass access to the U.S. labor market via the “Unaccompanied Alien Children” (UAC) loophole.

The loophole in border law was passed unanimously by Congress in 2008 to prevent labor trafficking. Coyotes now use the law to hand off their young customers to federal agencies, who then use taxpayer funds to finish the delivery of the migrant youths to their relatives — and jobs — throughout the United States.

The expanded federal role could reduce the cost for foreign youths to get into the U.S. labor market, even as more than 15 million Americans struggle to find jobs. White House leaks suggest that officials want to be ready to welcome 117,000 young migrants this year.

An elite-backed pro-migration group is supporting the help program for the foreign migrants:

“The Biden administration is rightly saying it’ll take time to reconstruct the system in a humane and appropriate way,” said Wendy Young, president of the advocacy group Kids in Need of Defense, which is helping with the effort. “And they’re digging themselves out of a hole right now.”

The Kids in Need of Defense group was cofounded by Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft. The group has a huge list of corporate backers, and it claims that it helped deliver roughly $450 million in pro-bono legal services during 2019.

The Washington Post report spotlights the determination of Biden’s pro-migration deputies to extract migrants from Central America and to pull them through U.S. immigration loopholes into the U.S. labor market, regardless of the popular federal laws or the public’s deep opposition to wage-cutting labor migration. On March 10, for example, Roberta Jacobson, Biden’s border policy chief at the White House, told reporters that “going forward, we will continue to look for ways to provide legal [migration] avenues in the region for people needing protection.”

There is much evidence that the migrant youths are looking for jobs in the United States, partly because low-wage U.S. jobs can generate money for families at home, even when the sent-home money is quietly taxed by local gangs.

“Honestly, I think almost everyone in the system knows that most of the [migrant] teens are coming to work and send money back home,” Maria Woltjen, executive director and founder of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, told a reporter for ProPublica. “They want to help their parents,” she told ProPublica for a November 2020 article.

ProPublica cited the case of Garcia, a Guatemalan youth who used the UAC loophole in 2018:

He was 15 and he had debts to pay, starting with the roughly $3,000 he owed for the “coyote” who guided him across Mexico from Guatemala. To finance the trip, his parents had taken out a bank loan, using their house as collateral. If he didn’t repay it, the family could lose its home.

Within a week of arriving, Garcia accompanied his aunt and uncle to the factory where they worked making auto parts. He got hired on a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift, cleaning newly made screws and bolts with an air blow gun. Workers wore safety goggles to protect their eyes from the shards of metal that blew in their faces. It was a dirty job. “I didn’t like it, working with so many oily parts,” he recalled. “And it was dangerous.”

Garcia was not directly employed by the factory. Instead, he got the job through an “oficina,” the word Spanish-speaking immigrants use to describe the dozens of temporary staffing agencies that employ hundreds of thousands of workers in Illinois. In some cases, the [migrant] teens interviewed by ProPublica — all but one of them male — say they don’t even know the name of the staffing agency that employs them; it’s just the place where someone told them they could find work.

The Washington Post article quietly recognizes that many of the so-called “Unaccompanied Alien Children” are male teenagers looking for work in the United States:

Some are fleeing violence, poverty and gang recruitment in their hometowns, risking the dangerous trip north in hope of finding safety or maybe a job that will pay exponentially more than they could make at home.

The latest statistics show the average length of time a minor spends in an HHS shelter is 30 to 40 days, and the government has been wary of speeding the process. In one 2014 incident, teenagers released by HHS ended up with traffickers who sent them to work at an Ohio egg farm. Lawmakers were furious, and HHS officials say their obligation is to err on the side of caution.

More than 70 percent of the migrant youths are male, and more than 75 percent claim they are older than 14 but younger than 18.

So far, the GOP has had a scattershot response to the growing federal support for Central American labor trafficking into Americans’ jobs. For example, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has complained that the border rush is a “crisis” — but without mentioning the damaging impact on Americans’ right to a national labor market and good wages.

For years, a wide variety of pollsters have shown deep and broad opposition to legal immigration, to illegal labor migration, and to the inflow of temporary contract workers into jobs sought by young U.S. graduates.

The multiracialcross-sexnon-racistclass-basedintra-Democratic, and solidarity-themed opposition to labor migration coexists with generally favorable personal feelings toward legal immigrants.

The deep public opposition to labor migration is built on the widespread recognition that both legal and illegal migration moves money from employees to employers, from families to investors, from young to old, from children to their parents, from homebuyers to real estate investors, and from the central states to the coastal states.


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