Pro-migration groups are denouncing an agency proposal to end the rule-breaking crush of young migrants at the border by temporarily blocking the entry of older 16-year-old and 17-year-old migrants, many of whom expect to pay their smuggling debts by taking Americans’ jobs.
“We write to express our grave concern about reports that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that officials are considering using the Trump-era Title 42 policy to illegally and inhumanely expel 16- and 17-year-old unaccompanied children at the Southern border,” says the March 12 letter by 49 progressive groups who favor youth migration.
“We are ready and willing to support the Biden Administration’s efforts to ensure that all these children have access to safe shelter and care until their parents or another trusted adult can be identified,” the group wrote.
The letter was sent after Buzzfeed News reported that officials were considering excluding all 16-year-old and 17-year-old migrants to help fix the overcrowding in border stations.
The border backlog is sensitive for Democrats. Many Democrat voters enthusiastically embraced the “kids in cages” narrative pushed by the Democrats leaders and media outlets who opposed President Donald Trump’s lower-immigration, higher-wage policies. But now, President Joe Biden is overseeing a traffic jam where thousands of children and teenagers are stuck for days in bare–bone border stations.
CBS reported March 12:
Neha Desai, a lawyer representing migrant youth in U.S. government custody, said she interviewed children who said they were hungry, as well as minors who only showered once in seven days.
“Some of the boys said that conditions were so overcrowded that they had to take turns sleeping on the floor,” Desai added, citing interviews with nearly a dozen unaccompanied migrant children held at the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) holding facility in Donna, Texas.
The minors Desai spoke to also said they had been denied phone calls to communicate with family members. “They were hysterically crying, wanting to talk to their family,” she said.
The rush of young migrants under Biden is now preventing border agencies from complying with the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) law. The law says that minor-age migrants must be sent from the border to shelters run by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just 72 hours after crossing the border. Once delivered to HHS, the migrants are quickly released to parents and relatives or traffickers who funded their trip.
The letter protesting the possible exclusion of older teenagers is signed by numerous elite-funded pro-migration advocates and legal groups. They include Al Otro Lado, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, Human Rights First, Immigration Hub, and Kids in Need of Defense.
But there is a further complication: Many of the older teenagers championed by the pro-migration groups are in debt to the traffickers who are bringing them to the United States, and they must pay off their debts — plus interest — by taking low-wage bondage jobs where they will be abused, underpaid, and ignored by the federal government and the pro-migration groups.
On March 12, DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas acknowledged that some of the young migrants are being sent to traffickers:
We need to invest and address the root causes [of migration] so that parents do not need to send their children alone to leave their countries of origin, to leave their homes, to traverse Mexico, only to get to the southern border and to be placed in the hands of traffickers.
The pro-migration groups welcome the inflow of economic migrants who fund their own delivery to the border by paying coyotes and cartels, said Rob Law, the director of regulatory affairs and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies. The groups “are complicit in the most unsavory and inhumane behavior imaginable,” said Law, who worked as policy director in President Donald Trump’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency.
“They’re fond of saying that they’re replacing Trump’s policies with a more compassionate approach, but there’s nothing compassionate about the way cartels do their business,” he added.
The groups’ acceptance of the regional labor-trafficking into Americans’ blue-collar jobs is also bad for their home countries, which have made few economic gains under the sway of corrupt governments, he said. “You don’t get change in your home country by just having everybody flee for other opportunities … This policy [is] basically sucking the life from Third World countries, and inducing [their next generation] to come live in the United States.”
Many D.C.-insiders believe that most of the older teenage migrants are looking for jobs.
Hannah Dreier, a Washington Post national reporter and for immigration reporter at ProPublica, posted March 11:
It’s an open secret on Long Island that Tate’s Bake Shop cookies are made by undocumented immigrants, including teenagers who balance factory work with high school. Now employees say Tate’s is using the threat of deportation to stop them from unionizing. https://t.co/jdObjtabw0
— Hannah Dreier (@hannahdreier) March 11, 2021
David Bier, a pro-migration advocate at the Cato Institute, urged DHS to release the 17 year-olds quickly:
They should just let all the 17-year-olds go. 17-year-olds can work and drive, and many have jobs lined up. Definitely not ideal, but it’s also definitely better than keeping them in prisons if you can’t find humane places to house them. https://t.co/qz12ovueqG
— David Bier (@David_J_Bier) March 11, 2021
The New Yorker reported March 9:
Between 2013 and 2015, tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America arrived at the border, on a scale that overwhelmed federal authorities. To release the children faster, the Obama Administration relaxed the usual background checks. In 2016, the Senate issued a report detailing more than a dozen cases of children who were sent to abusive sponsors.
Most of the media reports have focused on young male migrants seeking work. But there is little information about the fate of indebted young female migrants.
The share and number of UAC teen workers are unclear because some of the UACs are older than the limit of 18. Border agents cannot use technology to verify age claims by UACs, said one former agency official.
The inflow of older UAC migrants creates a political risk for Democrats, in part because many are expected to take jobs in GOP-run states. Ambitious GOP Attorneys General may see an incentive to expose the Democrat-backed child-labor trafficking rings.
Many migrants are killed in their Democrat-cheered trek through the deadly Hunger-Games-style gauntlet of police and thieves, cartels and coyotes, deserts and distance. On March 12, for example, El Salvador officials held a ceremony for 16 Guatemalan migrants — including at least 10 teenagers killed near the U.S. border, allegedly by rogue police.
— Michelle Mendoza (@mmendoza_GT) March 12, 2021
But progressive Democrats blame Americans for the harm done to the migrants, on the grounds that Americans refuse to open their borders to endless migration:
We are turning people over to killers in the name of deterrence, under the absurd name of “Migrant Protection,” and with full knowledge that people will be kidnapped, extorted, raped, and murdered.
DHS is running a damn jobs fair for the cartels.https://t.co/ahnLPrwu6i
— Aaron Reichlin-Melnick (@ReichlinMelnick) August 28, 2019
“There’s actually nothing humanitarian about what’s going on here,” Law responded. Extracting poor migrants who hope to get into the United States “is reckless, irresponsible, and cruel,” he said.
Biden’s deputies see the ‘UAC’ rush as a chaotic success, not a crisis.
We know this b/c DHS Mayorkas is giving US illegals a free pass* to pick up more left-behind kids & teen workers at HHS shelters.
(*Delivery fees must be paid to coyotes & cartels)https://t.co/xYJqLniY0A
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) March 14, 2021