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Border Agencies Must Deliver Youth Migrants to Illegal-Alien Relatives in U.S., Says HHS Official

migrants
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Nearly all of the Central American migrant children and youths who cross the border are being delivered by federal agencies to close relatives living illegally in the United States, an agency official admitted to Senators on August 16.

There would be a “humanitarian crisis” if officials end the Obama-set policy of delivering young migrants to their illegal-alien relatives, said Commander Jonathan White, who runs the child-migrant operation at the Department of Health and Human Services.

If the deliveries are stopped, the agencies would need “hundreds of thousands of beds over the next couple of years” to house the migrant children and youths, he claimed.

The “great majority” of people who accept the children are illegals, and just “10 percent of reunifications go to sponsors who are either distant relatives or not relatives,” White told Senators at the hearing before the Senate’s homeland security subcommittee on investigations.

White’s statement shows “that the United States government is an essential part of the alien-smuggling process [and] that the smugglers hand off their charges to the federal government [at the border] so that Washington [officials] can finish the smuggling route” up to the relatives, said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies. 

White is “not getting along with the program” set by President Donald Trump, Krikorian added. 

The government’s policy of delivering youths and children to sponsoring illegal-alien relatives “is the elephant in the room,” said Oklahoma GOP Sen. James Lankford. The safety and welfare of the migrant children cannot be ensured if the sponsors do not cooperate with the government, he told White:

We are setting you up for failure from the start if we are placing individuals in a home where the sponsor is illegally present in the United States. Of course children are going to disappear and we are going to lose track of them … if by definition that family is trying to disaapear from society too.

But White pushed back, saying he is a social-worker tasked with ensuring the best interests of the migrant children. He said many of the sponsors only seem to disappear because they refuse to accept telephone calls from government officials who are seeking to ensure that sponsored children are safe, and he added:

I also understand why some [illegal-immigrant] parents don’t take the call, and that does not necessarily mean they are bad parents or that there is something wrong with that family system. I understand the reasons that many parents are reluctant to take the call.

Lankford asked White how quickly Central American parents would respond if they knew they could not have the agencies deliver their child to their illegal-alien relatives in the United States. “I would not speculate on how long it would take to change … [but] it would produce a humanitarian crisis,” White responded.

Children should not be separated from sponsors except to ensure the “immediate safety of the child,” White said.

White refused to detail the percentage of sponsors who are illegal immigrants, but said his agency has the data. “We know in virtually every case if they are lawfully in the United States,” he said. 

White is a social worker who cares about the foreign children, not about the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, said Krikorian, adding that “handing over an important part of immigration enforcement to social workers is not a good idea.”

This UAC child-migration process was created by the cartels’ and migrants’ exploitation of loopholes in the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008. So far, Democrats have blocked President Donald Trump’s efforts to reform the TVPRA law.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reformed asylum laws help the Department of Homeland Security stop the wave of adult migrants who claiming asylum from abusive spouses and from gangs.

He has also assigned more prosecutors to the border to ensure zero tolerance of adults who are caught by the border patrol as they try to sneak across the border to join the illegal-immigrant workforce.

DHS is also stepping up border protections and is working to cut the number of legal visitors who overstay their visas.

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Central American migrants getting picked up by the U.S. Border Patrol April 14, 2016 in Roma, Texas.

The northward flow of migrant youths and children to relatives living illegally in the United States is very large.

From October 2017 to the end of July 2018, roughly 34,000 Central American migrant youths crossed the border, officials said. Since 2014, roughly 250,000 so-called “Unaccompanied Alien Children” have migrated into the United States, partly because of pro-migration policies adopted by deputies working for former President Barack Obama.

Many young men are being sent north to take jobs, and many younger kids are being sent to schools in working-class Americans districts.

Roughly one-third of the migrant children are girls, said White. One-quarter of the migrants are male youths who say they are aged 16 or 17, he said. Overall, only about 20 percent of the young migrants are younger than 13, he said.

White’s data suggests that roughly 55 percent of the migrants are boys aged 13 to 17.

The age data shows that “a very large part of this [migration] is really just about getting a job in the United States,” said Krikorian. Basically “15, 16-year-old kids are being sent to the D.C. area or to Los Angeles to get an illegal job and send the money home,” with the full cooperation of the U.S. government, said Krikorian. 

Many youths are being smuggled into the United States to provide cheap labor so they can pay off the loans used to cover their smuggling costs, said North Dakota Democrat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. “We know a lot of these kids come up as indentured servants … a lot of these kids are required to pay off a lot of what the transport was,” ensuring the possibility of more abuse, she said. 

In 2013, a Texas judge spotlighted the government’s cooperation with the people-smuggling cartels, writing: 

Customs and Border Protection agents stopped the [smuggler] Defendant at the border inspection point. She was arrested, and the [migrant] child was taken into custody. The DHS officials were notified that [the mother] Salmeron Santos instigated this illegal conduct. Yet, instead of arresting Salmeron Santos for instigating the conspiracy to violate our border security laws, the DHS delivered the child to her — thus successfully completing the mission of the criminal conspiracy. It did not arrest her. It did not prosecute her. It did not even initiate deportation proceedings for her. The DHS policy is a dangerous course of action.”

Overall, fewer than 3 percent of the UACs are returned to their home country, said Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who chaired the August 16 hearing at the Senate’s homeland security subcommittee on investigations.

Each year, roughly 50 percent of the migrant children and youths, or about 6,500, or do not attend the court hearings where their asylum claims are decided, said James McHenry, the director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Roughly 80,000 UACs are in the process of claiming asylum, and the courts are resolving roughly 12,500 cases per year, he said.

The media’s focus on the welfare of the migrants, and the government’s reluctance to recognize its role in the smuggling industry, said Krikorian, shows how “the alien smugglers and open borders [activists] are using our compassion against us.”

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