Lawmakers, Whistleblowers Demand Change for Exploited Unaccompanied Migrant Children

Lawmakers, Whistleblowers Demand Change for Exploited Unaccompanied Migrant Children

On Tuesday, Republican senators held a roundtable to discuss the exploitation of unaccompanied migrant children and allegations that the United States is failing to protect these children from trafficking and abuse.

Two whistleblowers spoke at the panel, highlighting alleged failures by the Department of Health and Human Services and the unaccompanied children program. Both said the department was responsible for the loss of at least 85,000 migrant children, sex trafficking and forced labor.

“I interviewed these kids and I have stories that will haunt me for the rest of my life,” said Deborah White, one of the federal whistleblowers.

“This is the most horrific injustice against children that I have witnessed in my entire federal career,” added Tara Rodas, another whistleblower.

Republican Senators Chuck Grassley, Bill Cassidy and Ron Johnson hosted the panel and said the Biden administration is “sending children to poorly vetted volunteer homes, setting them up for failure.”

However, the Biden administration has said the unaccompanied children program reunites children with family members. In place since 2003, the program also tightened its rules two months ago.

“Unfortunately, children are still suffering and HHS has failed to step up to the plate,” Senator Grassley said.

Rodas, who had a long career in the federal government, told the panel she worked in areas that handled more than 8,000 minors.

“Putting vulnerable migrant children into the hands of sponsors with criminal backgrounds, affiliated with gangs, many of whom are not even parents,” Rodas said.

White, who was seconded to HHS in the summer of 2021, told us directly that she blames HHS and the Biden administration’s policies for what happened.

“This is nothing short of taxpayer-funded, government-sanctioned child slavery,” White said.