OAN Brooke Mallory
UPDATED 12:44 PM – Friday, May 5, 2023
In response to the persistent criticism over its handling of tens of thousands of unaccompanied migrant minors at the border, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is beginning to stand firm and take the offensive.
On a DHS fact sheet that was posted on its website on Wednesday night, the agency highlighted the work its federal law enforcement officers and agents have accomplished in the past year in order to rescue victims of child sex abuse and to prosecute adult criminals.
“DHS is dedicated to battling child exploitation and abuse from every angle: identifying and rescuing victims, protecting and supporting victims and survivors, locating and apprehending perpetrators, and raising awareness through public education and outreach,” DHS said in a statement.
Republicans are reportedly becoming more anxious about the government’s treatment of the 350,000 unaccompanied children that have crossed the border, who were then allowed entry into the country while Joe Biden has been president. In contrast to the former president Donald Trump, Biden is well recognized for supporting border policies that are not as strict.
“Biden’s perspective on interior enforcement, leading to the arrest of unauthorized migrants, is similar to that of presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush,” according to Politifact.
As far as the process goes, Border Patrol agents initially meet these migrant minors, who are then handed over to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) of the Department of Health and Human Services, where the government then searches for a relative, friend, or other adult to release the child to.
Federal authorities claimed they “lost track” of 85,000 young immigrants during that time, who were later discovered engaged in forced labor and sex labor, according to a New York Times article from April.
“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,” declared Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).
On Wednesday, in a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, more than 75 additional House members requested openness from the Biden administration and accused it of willfully and carelessly releasing unaccompanied minors to adults around the nation.
DHS claimed that its agencies, like the Secret Service, Homeland Security Investigations at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Science and Technology Directorate, had located or saved around 1,170 children that had been victims of exploitation and abuse.
On both the dark web and clear web, federal agents detained about 4,459 individuals for crimes related to creating, sharing, or receiving child sex abuse-related content. About half of those detained were found guilty.
According to the DHS, Secret Service agents also uncovered more than 1,400 sexual assaults and 90 victims of sexual abuse through polygraph testing of online offenders.
The only reference to unaccompanied minors made by the department was to Customs and Border Protection’s broad examination of immigrant children for indications of abuse or exploitation, human trafficking, or other forms of slavery.
After migrant children were released into the United States, Robert Carey, who managed the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) towards the end of the Obama administration, said at a House hearing last month that the kids were placed in hostile environments.
“Unaccompanied children are vulnerable, and the newest investigations demonstrate that some have been exploited by employers, often laboring for staffing agencies or contractors performing work for prominent U.S. companies and brands,” Carey said in an opening statement.
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