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Mississippi joins 21 GOP states in urging Biden admin to take action after 85,000 migrant children reported missing

Photo courtesy of Attorney General Lynn Fitch

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch has joined 21 other state attorneys in urging federal leaders to take action after reports show that large numbers of migrant children have been released into unsafe environments.

In a letter addressed to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray, the attorneys general accuse the federal government of placing migrant children in harm’s way

The AGs, all from Republican states, are now calling on federal officials to address and review a recent report issued by the HHS’ Office of Inspector General that found unaccompanied migrant children in the custody of the federal government are being released into unsafe situations, including into human trafficking.

“The federal government has the duty to protect these innocent children,” Fitch said. “Instead, they are neglecting this responsibility, and the children are being harmed and exploited. 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.”

“It is time for this administration to take responsibility for the safety and well-being of these children coming to our country without adult supervision. This may end up one of the greatest tragedies to come from the chaos they have created at the border.”

In the letter, the state officials expressed concern over the allegation that 85,000 migrant children have gone missing under the current presidential administration’s watch. The letter cites a February 2023 New York Times report indicating many of these children have been forced into laboring for debilitating hours under dangerous conditions. Others are allegedly victims of sex trafficking.

In a report issued this month, HHS’ Office of Inspector General confirms and documents many of the issues found in the New York Times investigation, admitting that more than one-third of children’s case files were flagged with safety concerns. In some instances, address checks conducted by case managers yielded results such as vacant houses or nonresidential addresses, but no home studies were conducted before children were released to these sponsors, the letter argues.

After the DHS failed to provide its plan to address this reportedly growing crisis for more than three months, the attorneys generals have decided to take action and demand the Biden administration account for these reports in writing by May 1.

“Our states have a strong interest in enforcing state and federal law within our borders,” the attorneys general wrote. “We are also dedicated to fighting against human trafficking and are outraged that victims now include children that were in the federal government’s care. Missing children must be identified, and potential sponsors must be vetted.”

Attorneys general from the following states joined Mississippi in sending the letter: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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