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Biden Labor Secretary Pressed by Congress Over Trafficking of Underage Illegal Migrants

Acting Labor Department Secretary Julie Su was grilled by Congress over the trafficking of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) to be used as illegal labor within the United States.

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) was scathing of the Labor Department’s approach to the issue during a House committee hearing on child migrant labor on June 7.

Many of the children were released by federal authorities after they crossed the U.S. southern border and have since disappeared.

Since Joe Biden took office, Health and Human Services (HHS) officials reported having lost contact with most of the 85,000 UACs, after releasing them deep into the interior to those claiming to be adult sponsors.

However, it was well known that the overwhelming majority of these so-called sponsors were not their biological parents and that many of these kids were being brutally exploited, reported The New York Times (NYT) in February.

Banks referred to the NYT report more than once during the hearing with Su.

During the hearing, Banks asked Su what the Labor Department was doing to stop the trafficking of vulnerable illegal migrant children into the country.

“Reportedly, hundreds of thousands of illegal children have entered our workforce in dangerous jobs, and this [NYT] story says that you and this administration have completely ignored what I believe is another example of the biggest humanitarian crisis in American history. What the heck are you doing about it?” Banks asked the official.

Epoch Times Photo
U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) questions witnesses in a hearing of the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington on Feb. 28, 2023. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Human traffickers allegedly force child workers to work long hours at low wages while extracting debt payments from the wages they send back to their families, reported NYT.

Su claimed that her department was doing its best to prevent the thousands of illegal migrant children from being exploited under unsafe positions, which the Congressman from Indiana did not accept.

Banks responded by blaming the Biden administration’s failure to seal the border and accused it of allowing a humanitarian catastrophe.

Epoch Times Photo
Illegal immigrants are processed by U.S. agents after crossing into Arizona from Mexico, on May 11, 2023. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Under Biden, the number of UACs crossing the border has tripled, coinciding with skyrocketing levels of child migrant labor trafficking.

Since 2021, about 300,000 illegal aliens under 18 years of age have been released into the U.S. interior after reaching the border, with many falling into the hands of fake sponsors.

Banks criticized Su for doing little about child labor enforcement, despite knowing that thousands of migrant kids were being smuggled illegally into the country.

He then noted there was no wave of child migrant labor violations under former President Donald Trump when his administration made immigration enforcement a top priority.

“Since the Biden administration started, we’ve seen a 69 percent increase in child labor violations because of the open borders policies that have flooded this country, in this case, with over 250,000 kids coming into our country entering unsafe conditions,” said Banks.

Su agreed with the congressman and said that her department must do more to crack down on child labor violations and make sure that employers who profited off of children were held accountable.

Whistleblower Claims

Top Biden officials, such as HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and former Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice, have all been accused by critics of ignoring the fate of children trafficked into the country.

Epoch Times Photo
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in Washington on March 28, 2023. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Tara Lee Rodas,  an HHS whistleblower formerly an employee with an inspector general’s office, told Congress in April about what she witnessed while volunteering at an emergency intake site in California to help the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) identify sponsors for minors who have come across the border.

“I thought I was going to help place children in loving homes. Instead, I discovered that children are being trafficked through a sophisticated network that begins with being recruited in their home country, smuggled to the U.S. border, and ends when ORR delivers a child to a sponsor—some sponsors are criminals and traffickers and members of transnational criminal organizations,” Rodas said. [PDF]

“Some sponsors view children as commodities and assets to be used for earning income; this is why we are witnessing an explosion of labor trafficking,” she said.

“Whether intentional or not, it can be argued that the U.S. government has become the middleman in a large scale, multi-billion-dollar, child trafficking operation run by bad actors seeking to profit off the lives of children.”

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