[Fox News] GOP AGs press Biden admin to act after reports that 85,000 migrant children are missing, possibly trafficked

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FIRST ON FOX: Nearly two-dozen Republican attorneys general are imploring the Biden administration to act following “grim” reports that 85,000 migrant children are missing with “reason to believe” that some are being trafficked.  

In a letter sent Monday, Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes wrote to Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and FBI Director Christopher Wray saying that “the United States needs to stop handing over children to ‘probable traffickers.’”

“Losing 85,000 kids is like losing the entire population of Sioux City, Iowa. This is unacceptable,” Bird told Fox News Digital in a statement. “As a mom, it makes me sick to know that many of these missing kids have been trapped into forced labor and exploited by heinous sex traffickers. It’s the federal government’s job to keep these children safe.”

“President Biden’s own Department of Health and Human Services is sounding the alarm that unaccompanied children are being released into compromising situations but seems unwilling or unable to devise a strategy to address these concerns,” Fitch told Fox News Digital. “This may end up one of the greatest tragedies to come from the chaos they have created at the border.”

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“President Biden’s border crisis has reached never-before-seen levels. Even worse, we now learn that the Department of Health and Human Services cannot find more than 85,000 migrant children who entered our country over the last two years,” the AGs wrote. 

“Reports show that many of those children have been forced into the labor market, where they work debilitating hours under dangerous conditions in violation of child-labor laws or are sex trafficked,” they said.  

The Republican AGs cited a report published earlier this month by the HHS Office of Inspector General which they described as “grim.” That report, they said, found “major problems with safety concerns for unaccompanied children,” and “explained that for more than one-in-five children required sponsor safety checks were not timely performed.”

“In more than one-third of the cases, IDs submitted by sponsors raised concerns. Some children were released without home studies—to homes investigators later found to be vacant or nonresidential.”

“[We] write because there is reason to believe that some of the 85,000 missing children are being trafficked. That cannot continue. But since this news surfaced, neither the Department of Health and Human Services nor the Department of Homeland Security has offered a plan for identifying and protecting those vulnerable children,” the AGs said. 

“Trafficking minors cannot continue. We demand a response to this crisis,” they added. 

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The Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services and the FBI did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. 

“Parents send their children alone to the United States for a better life. Some come to escape war, others to escape gangs or violence,” the AGs wrote. 

“By law, the Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for keeping these children safe when they arrive. That responsibility includes reuniting children with family or placing them with a sponsor who will protect them from trafficking and exploitation. But that Department is not living up to its responsibilities, and the cost of that failure is tens of thousands of missing children,” they charged.

The AGs said that the HHS “loosened vetting procedures” and as a result claim that “thousands of children have now fallen victim to forced labor and sex trafficking.”

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“They spend their time in this country working dangerous and sometimes inhumane jobs. They are deprived of necessities like sleep and food and denied an education. Some even face life-altering injuries and death,” they said. 

One recent example they cited is a sixteen-year-old person who was crushed under an earthmover near Atlanta, Georgia. Another example is a fourteen-year-old person who was hit by a car while delivering food on a bike in Brooklyn, New York. And another — a fifteen-year-old — died on his first day of work for a roofing company when he fell 50 feet. 

There are also numerous examples of young women brought across the border in Texas only to be placed immediately into sex trafficking rings, they note. 

“In a country that claims to value both children and the rule of law, this cannot happen,” they said. 

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