The program involves the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Several hearings have taken place since the first whistleblower came out in 2020 regarding improperly vetted sponsors, which is enabling human traffickers to gain custody of migrant children at the border. The most recent hearing was in April, in which the director of ORR, Robin Dunn Marcos, refused to answer any questions regarding the 85,000 children the agency lost contact with.
When asked to clarify if they have lost contact with 85,000 children after making three follow-up calls for each child, Director Dunn deflected and did not give an answer. Instead, she said that in 81% of the wellness check phone calls they make, they are able to get in touch with somebody.
One of the whistleblowers is Carlos Arellano, who contracted with MVM Inc. as a transportation specialist for the Unaccompanied Minor program. He believes the number of children the agency has lost contact with is much higher than 85,000. In a video for America's Future, Arellano states:
"I believe it's a much larger number because, in 2021, when sites like Pomona were open, the picture taking with the government phone was not implemented when they first started. When it first started, we had a clipboard of papers. We were not taking pictures of an actual ID. When the sponsor is in front of you, hold up the paperwork and try to see if it matches. There was no way for us to take a picture of the IDs that were being given to us."
Mayra Moreno is another whistleblower for the program. She worked as a migrant Case Manager for the Pomona Fairplex. Moreno said:
"Some of these IDs were false. You don't have to be an expert to see these IDs were false. I had a guy tell me, 'What do you mean it's not okay? I just paid 200 dollars for it.' I brought that up to the upper management team. I was told we were not there to investigate the sponsor. We were there to reunify the child with the sponsor. The other thing we were told is, 'You are not a professional, how would you know.'"
The ID checks are the most basic protection that the agency can provide to be sure that minors are not being put into an abusive household or human trafficking situation. There are more first-hand accounts from these whistleblowers detailing children who do not want to be handed off to the sponsor because they do not know the person. Carlos Arellano explained:
"I had a couple of times where the child was crying saying, 'I don't want to go, I don't know this person. I've never seen them in my life. I've never even seen them through Facetime.'My co-worker would say, 'We have to give them over; it's company policy that we can't bring a child back because the contract could be lost. I'm going to have to report you if you fight me on this.' I was given every excuse under the sun.
There were [also] reports of these kids were calling the government phone and said, 'Hey, I'm being treated bad. I'm being forced to work, and I'm only 13. Some kids would even go as far as to say I am being raped. I am being made to sleep with multiple men.'"
There have been 2.2 million people apprehended at the border in 2023 through the end of August, compared to 2.38 million in the entire year of 2022. This increase in migrants crossing the border is not expected to slow down. The Unaccompanied Minors program has spent $2.7 Billion in tax dollars this year, according to a June report by the Federalist.
The House Oversight hearing from April contained some more revealing information about this program. Representative Jake LaTurner of Kansas said:
"Since President Biden has been in office, there have been over 4.8 million migrant encounters at the Southwest border, not including the roughly 1.3 million gotaways who evaded law enforcement completely and entered our country undetected. This unprecedented national security and humanitarian crisis has overwhelmed federal officials and endangered the well-being of unaccompanied and migrant children as a result."
The press release from the hearing states that DHS referred about 129,000 unaccompanied alien children to HHS in the fiscal year 2022 compared to only 15,000 in the fiscal year 2020. Whistleblower Arellano stated that each field office contains about 300-400 escorts, and each one is moving thousands of kids each week.
Concerned citizens have until December 4 to give their comments regarding the program. The DHS whistleblowers are encouraging people to submit multiple comments, even as many as 94. Several pre-written comments can be copied and pasted in an attempt to jam up the system. Hearings in the House of Representatives and knowledge of human trafficking occurring with the use of U.S. taxpayer dollars have not been enough for action to be taken. The only action being taken currently is to codify this program into law, which will only make it harder to overturn in the future. Visit this site to find comments you can contribute in an attempt to stop this disastrous program from being codified into law.