Cornyn: Biden Admin Allowed Migrant Child Trafficking, Silenced Whistleblowers

On the floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) detailed a recent investigation alleging that the Biden administration ignored reports of labor trafficking involving thousands of migrant children and retaliated against whistleblowers. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video can be found here.

“In February, the Times published its first story detailing the widespread child exploitation of migrant children. It includes stories of unaccompanied migrants who were working in dangerous jobs that violate child labor laws… a 15-year-old girl who packages cereal at night in a factory. A 14-year-old boy who works on a construction job instead of going to school. A 13-year-old child day laborer, children working in meat processing plants, commercial bakeries, and for suppliers for automakers.”

“We aren’t talking about part-time gigs after going to school. These are grueling and dangerous full-time jobs meant for adults, not children. So the big question is how they got there. How on Earth did the Biden administration allow so many vulnerable children to be exploited?”

“As the Biden border emergency crisis ramped up, emergency shelters were filling up, and the administration had a major public relations problem on its hands. Its top priority wasn’t, apparently, the safety of these children, but the speed at which they could be moved from the border to sponsors with no follow-up.”

“Health and Human Services loosened vetting requirements and urged case managers to move faster with little regard for the danger that was created for these migrant children.”

“Earlier this week, the New York Times published yet another story, with even more details on the administration’s failure to protect migrant children.”

“Within Health and Human Services, at least five staffers have filed complaints and said they were pushed out of their jobs for sharing concerns with their leadership about this extraordinary crisis of abuse or neglect. Well, the Labor Department was aware of child labor violations too.”

“Last year, investigators identified major instances of child labor violations that took place in auto part factories and meatpacking plants. As they continued to uncover more and more cases of migrant children being exploited, the Department shared its concerns with the White House.”

“Susan Rice, who serves as Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, which oversees virtually every aspect of domestic policy affairs, claims no knowledge of this problem, even though we know that when the border crisis reached its fever pitch during the summer of 2021, Ms. Rice’s team received a memo from Health and Human Services managers about labor trafficking.”

“The Biden administration knew that children were being exploited and willingly failed to act. It repeatedly brushed aside warnings and continued to prioritize speed over safety.”

“So the American people need to know, is this an example of gross negligence, of whistleblower chilling, or just simply willful violation of the law by the Biden administration? Right now, the answer to all those questions appears to be a big and resounding yes.”

“We need answers from Secretary Becerra, the Department of Labor, and Susan Rice on how this could possibly be allowed to happen and how it could continue to happen as I speak. We need accountability, and we need to see proof that there are changes being implemented to prevent this from happening in the future.”

“Time and time again, the Biden administration has claimed that their approach to the border and immigration is fair, orderly, and humane. But there’s nothing fair about putting children in the care of people who will exploit them, there’s nothing orderly about ignoring warnings of child labor violations, and there’s nothing humane about the way migrant children are suffering in silence across America.”


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