Sadly, it seems the Biden administration had known about these missing children since 2021 when it was reported that the federal government had lost contact with about one-third of the unaccompanied alien children (UACs) it released between January and May.
According to a Jan. 23, 2024 letter from Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a full two years later, HHS has done little to correct the problem. The current standoff at the Texas border shows there is a crisis that our nation's border states can no longer ignore. It feels to many as if the open border policies at the federal level have been purposeful with a bewildering disregard for the most vulnerable among us. The very party that has for decades put in place all manner of programs to protect children seems to be aiding and abetting one of the most egregious human trafficking operations in recent memory.
There have been two hearings on UACs, one in April 2023 and the latest in October 2023. When asked about these missing children during the October hearing, Mr. Cardell Morant could not provide an accounting of the number of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) who have gone missing. And he still hasn't, according to Grassley. Morant is the Assistant Director for Homeland Security Investigations and Director of the DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
One of the most disturbing aspects of Grassley's letter confirms the aiding and abetting of trafficked children by government agencies and their NGO partners. Grassley reveals he has heard from credible whistleblowers who have identified specific children who have been "placed in the hands of probable traffickers by HHS despite clear red flags, as well as allegations of deliberate indifference to their suffering both by HHS and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) responsible for identifying and vetting sponsors and transporting children to their custody."
According to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), human trafficking is best managed at the local and State level. Coordination among jurisdictions is necessary but is often too fragmented. Mark Kirkorian and Frank Russo spoke about the need for states to intervene in a Jan. 18 podcast from CIS in an excerpt below:
"Another challenge in the battle against human trafficking lies in the fragmented focus of victim advocacy organizations, state and local jurisdictions, and federal prosecutors. Each entity concentrates on different aspects of human trafficking, resulting in a lack of collaboration and a failure to understand the factors that drive the trafficking of individuals to the U.S.
Russo offers recommendations for how the state and local levels can better fight human trafficking. One key suggestion is to provide resources to individuals who can prove they were trafficked and will testify against their traffickers, such as placing them in a safe house to ensure their protection. Another is to adopt specific language in state law that can hold employers responsible for labor trafficking occurring in their facilities or through their use of contractors."
Florida Grand Jury Empaneled to Investigate Border-Related Criminal Activity
On Jun. 17, 2022, Governor DeSantis petitioned the Supreme Court of Florida to impanel a statewide grand jury to look at border-related criminal activity, including human trafficking. On Jun. 29, the Florida Supreme Court ordered the empanelment. The information published in the third and the fifth presentments or reports from the grand jury investigation is deeply disturbing, and according to the jurors, most Floridians are naive and unaware of the ways NGOs and the government aid and abet human trafficking and drug smuggling. Cartels are operating with impunity, facilitating the flow of drugs, weapons, and humans across our borders.
At the time of the production of the fifth presentment, the grand jury had spent approximately 450 hours in session and interviewed more than 100 witnesses, including but not limited to whistleblowers, trafficked individuals, law enforcement, ranchers, NGO employees, teachers, veterans, activists, criminal defendants, and immigration judges. The third presentment of the twenty-first statewide grand jury focuses specifically on UACs. The fifth presentment highlights UACs, the broader issue of illegal mass migration, and its dangerous outcomes. The Florida grand jury investigation aimed to determine whether our state leaders might do anything to address the criminal activity affecting our State.
The grand jury investigated border operations under the auspices of the Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (HHS/ORR), a federal program that is supposed to help children and families with legitimate asylum claims resettle safely in the U.S. The grand jury found HHS/ORR is, in many cases, actually "facilitating the forced migration, sale, and abuse of foreign children." In some cases, the report continues, "some of our fellow Florida residents are (in some cases unwittingly) funding and incentivizing" the activity for primarily economic reasons.
NGOs, which portray themselves as well-meaning do-gooders and rescuers, are at the center of the immigration debacle because they partner with the feds, receiving lucrative grants in return for their services. Sadly, however, the Florida grand jury found in many cases, those same NGOs exacerbate the problem at the border. Under Biden, immigration to the U.S. is more accurately described as an unlawful, massive catch-and-release program whose goal is to process as many illegals as possible. National security is not a priority for the current administration. NGOs encourage an unmanageable flow of illegals by sugarcoating the realities of the trek and overpromising the prospects for opportunity and fortune at the end of the journey. Using taxpayer dollars, NGOs hand out millions in cash, aid in the transport of illegals, providing shelter along the way. Once released into the interior, illegals receive services and benefits from HHS/ORR and NGOs.
According to the fifth report, one alien named Natalia was "told the walk would be a lot shorter–only two hours descent ahead. The scale of the deceit has begun to emerge, and the ground is about to literally turn on them." Another named Carolina, from Venezuela, said she "regret[s] putting [her] son through this jungle of Hell so much that I have had to cry to let it all out because I risked his life and mine."
Jurors found NGOs expose children to horrifying health conditions, constant criminal threats, labor and sex trafficking, robbery, rape, and other experiences not done justice by mere words. The jury writes, "We will never be able to forget or un-see some of the heart-wrenching testimony, disturbing videos, and infuriating abuse we have observed in the course of our five-month investigation." The Florida grand jury investigation destroys the kind-hearted narrative NGOs advertise. It seems in too many cases, NGOs are neither transparent nor help these aliens arrive and settle safely. In fact, in way too many cases, the grand jury reports cite instances where NGOs actively assisted or encouraged illegals to make the journey, endangering them in the process:
"We have seen these criminals selling children into bondage and burning dismembered torsos of aliens who literally walked into their trap courtesy of these NGOs. We have seen the bodies literally strewn along a trail "parents" force their children to pass and corpses stacked like cordwood in the backs of sun-baked semitrailers. We have seen airplanes packed full of unaccompanied alien children, fleets of boats brimming with passengers to the point of capsizing heading up muddy reptile-infested rivers and swamps, convoys of buses traversing rutted dirt roads and trains overflowing with travelers stacked on rooftops of railcars, hanging off siderails, or getting their legs chopped off under the wheels. And we have seen parents physically force wailing children through barbed concertina wire and across predator- and disease-infested bodies of water, with not just the blessing but the active assistance of NGOs spending billions of federal dollars."
The Floridians who sat on the grand jury admitted having been "dangerously naive and unaware of the true magnitude and malevolence of the illegal immigration industry." Their investigation reveals countless and unspeakable instances of abuse toward children. In many cases, NGOs are directly responsible for their abuse because they encourage the dangerous trek while lying about every part of the process to unsuspecting foreigners who take them at their word. NGOs, in partnership with the federal government, "enable transnational and local criminal organizations in their trafficking of people (including and especially children), criminal actors, fraudulent documents and drugs into our state, extracting money in return." According to the jurors, federal policies and political incentives are driving the illegal activity. Jurors also found NGOs and government agencies sought to "prevent [grand jury members] from gathering information," a despicable truth highlighted in the fifth presentment.
NGOs, says the fifth presentment, lack accountability for the monies they receive. A report released in March 2023 by the DHS Inspector General shows "NGO awardees were unable to account to the DHS OIG for $7.4 million or 58 percent" of the 12.9 million examined ($15.6 billion since 2008). Never mind, though–FEMA's Shelter and Services Program (SSP) sent another $77 million, bringing the total to 291 million in 2022 alone. The grand jury heard testimony and reviewed reports "learning that 70% of their [NGO] funds were spent on salaries." Nevertheless, DHS recently requested "an additional $1.4 billion in SSP grants" for "temporary food, shelter, and other services for recently arrived aliens," according to the report.
The fifth presentment also highlights the Jan. 2023 Declaration of North America signed by Biden. The Declaration was just one more way the Biden administration seeks to encourage the unsustainable flow of aliens at the border. The Declaration was expressly made to advance labor mobility in North America. It was also explicitly designed to leave their countries of origin and come to the United States for economic benefit. The Declaration is just one more instance of the Biden administration's full-throttle policies that promote and prioritize the efficient processing of illegals with no mention of their safety or ours as a top priority.
Illegal aliens have happily answered the call to trek north with little knowledge of the gravely dangerous journey to which they might be subjecting their loved ones. On top of it, the vast majority of migrants have no credible claim to asylum status as it was initially codified. Instead, the Biden administration has all but destroyed the rules of asylum status with its utterly unlawful humanitarian parole programs. Remember, the plan to reform asylum rules and roll back Trump's tougher border policies was explicitly stated straight out of the gate by Mayorkas on Feb. 11, 2021.
As of August 2023, according to the grand jury reports, "some 280,000 aliens have been paroled into the United States at the land border ports" using the CBP One mobile app. According to CIS, CBP One grants users quick and efficient temporary humanitarian parole. 95% of the applicants received parole into our country. While the numbers from CIS are more conservative, the graph below reflects data obtained from DHS through Freedom of Information Act litigation. The graph clearly shows a sharp increase in entries using the CBP One app.
Through mid-September, some 221,000 aliens were flown directly into U.S. airports, according to the report. These "Come in, We're Open" policies have also threatened our own safety. There are, according to the report, over 400,000 convicted criminals on ICE's non-detained docket, meaning they are not in custody while awaiting their immigration hearing. The grand jury reports make numerous observations and recommendations to keep Florida safer from open border operations. Those recommendations include beefing up specific policies, better tracking of data on the immigration status of arrestees, and sentencing enhancements for those who have been previously deported and returned to commit a felony offense in the state, to name just a few.
Todd Bensman, CIS's Senior National Security Fellow, confirms in his Jan. 24, 2024 article that the UN plans to hand out nearly $1.6 billion in Latin America with the help of 248 named NGOs. $372 million will go to "Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) and Multipurpose Cash Assistance (MCA)" to some 624,000 immigrants in transit to the United States in 2024. The UN also plans to spend $1.59 billion on about three million people in 17 countries worldwide who will emigrate from their home nations. According to Bensman and the revised UN document, immigrants will receive humanitarian transportation, shelter, food, legal advice, personal hygiene products, health care, protection against threats like human smuggling" and more. A complete list of the NGOs with their financial requirements begins on p. 268 of the original UN document here.