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Thread: Illegal Immigrant Program Creating Proxy Foster Care System, Says Official

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  1. #1
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Illegal Immigrant Program Creating Proxy Foster Care System, Says Official

    (TVPRA - Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 200

    Illegal Immigrant Program Creating Proxy Foster Care System, Says Official

    June 3, 2018


    WASHINGTON—More than 10,000 minor children who crossed the southwest border illegally, without a parent or guardian, are currently in the custody of Health and Human Services (HHS).

    The vast majority (more than 90 percent) hail from the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Most are aged between 15 and 17.

    Steven Wagner, acting assistant secretary at HHS’ Administration for Children and Families, said the Unaccompanied Alien Children Program has grown vastly beyond its original intention.

    “The [program] was never intended, however, to be a foster care system,” Wagner said on a May 29 media call.

    He said the program runs at an immediate cost to the federal taxpayer of over $1 billion a year.

    A total of 21,720 unaccompanied minors were apprehended on the southwest border between Oct. 1, 2017, and March 31, according to the Department of Homeland Security. An additional 4,605 were deemed inadmissible at U.S. ports of entry.

    Wagner said that under a current immigration loophole, HHS is forced to release minors from Central America into the United States rather than return them to their country of origin, if they do not qualify for another immigration benefit.

    The loophole is the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), which has a provision that says a minor from a noncontiguous country cannot be turned back to Mexico or flown back to their home country—even if the individual is not a victim of trafficking, nor if their age, identity, credible fear status, or criminal background cannot be verified.

    White House senior adviser for policy Stephen Miller said this creates a two-tiered illegal immigration system.

    “Aliens arriving illegally from Mexico, by and large, can be processed quickly and returned home together quickly. Aliens arriving from Central America—that is not the case. And they are entitled under these current loopholes to be released inside the United States. Many [are] never to be seen or heard from again,” he said.

    The administration wants Congress to amend the TVPRA so that minors who are not genuine trafficking victims can be quickly returned home or removed to safe third countries.

    “This is an example of open borders,” Wagner said. “And you can see that the UAC [unaccompanied alien children] program is being utilized because it has an economic benefit to the people who are coming here, often with the aid and assistance of smugglers.”

    Border Patrol agents speak to a group of unaccompanied minors who just crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico into the United States in Hidalgo County, Texas, on May 26, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

    Minors Entering

    When a child under the age of 18 enters the United States illegally, they often seek out Border Patrol, which is then mandated under the Flores Settlement Agreement to transfer the minor to HHS’ Office of Refugee and Resettlement within 72 hours.

    The administration wants Congress to terminate Flores—a Clinton-era settlement of a class-action lawsuit—and fold relevant care provisions into the TVPRA.

    HHS is mandated to temporarily house the minors and then release them to a sponsor within the United States. Most are released within an average of 57 days in HHS custody.

    “So HHS has been put in the position of placing illegal aliens with individuals who helped arrange for them to enter the country illegally in the first place,” Wagner said. “This makes the immediate crisis worse and creates an economic incentive for further violation of federal immigration law.”

    Many minors are brought into the United States by family members who pay to smuggle them across the border illegally. Often, the family members are also in the country illegally. HHS is then forced to house the minors and pay to transport them to where their family members live.

    “We’re not able to deny placement just because parents or family members are in the country illegally,” Wagner said.

    Trump wants to clarify the unaccompanied minor designation and remove the benefits for minors who are living with a parent here illegally. Those benefits include access to food stamps, medical care, and social services.

    Wagner said HHS and the Department of Homeland Security have just signed a memorandum of agreement that will give more information to HHS about the unaccompanied minor.

    “We think this is going to be a major step forward, as it provides information to HHS so that we can more thoroughly vet the unaccompanied alien children for a background in gang activity,” Wagner said.


    The unaccompanied minor program has been used as a pipeline for recruitment for the MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, gang. The gang sends members to the United States from El Salvador as unaccompanied minors, and it recruits from recently arrived minors from Central America.

    Peter Fitzhugh, deputy special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York, said MS-13 membership has expanded since 2014, coinciding with a flood of thousands of unaccompanied minors across the southwest border.

    The counties absorbing the greatest number of unaccompanied minors are Harris County in Texas, Los Angeles County, Suffolk County in New York, and Miami-Dade County in Florida.

    These four counties have taken in around 30,000 minors in their communities and schools in the last several years.

    All four counties are struggling with the proliferation of MS-13 gang violence. An ICE operation last year resulted in the arrest of 214 MS-13 gang members, 30 percent of whom originally entered the United States as unaccompanied alien children.

    Vetting Sponsors

    Under the new memorandum of agreement, HHS will also start vetting sponsors more thoroughly.

    “We will conduct a fingerprint-based background check on every sponsor, to further ensure there’s never an incident of kids being released into human trafficking rings as regrettably occurred in 2016 under the previous administration,” Wagner said.

    “Plus we have the problem of people fraudulently claiming to be parents, when in fact they’re not. Actually matching the family relationship is a challenge for us.”

    Miller said Democrats are “exclusively and solely” to blame for keeping the current loopholes open.

    He said the Democrats “who claim to be alarmed by the humanitarian situation unfolding in our hemisphere, the loopholes that they fight so hard to protect, are the source, cause, and reason for the humanitarian conditions driven by the child smuggling trade in our hemisphere.
    Last edited by GeorgiaPeach; 06-05-2018 at 01:55 PM.
    Matthew 19:26
    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  2. #2
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    (Thomas Homan, ICE, speaking with Jessica Vaughn of Center for Immigration Studies gave a short list of a things he would do to help address illegal immigration, asylum claims, unaccompanied children. TVPRA was included.)

    Unaccompanied Alien Children: A Primer
    Matthew 19:26
    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  3. #3
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    DHS: CBP Saw a 315 Percent Increase in Illegals Using Children to Gain Entry to the US
    Matthew 19:26
    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  4. #4
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    (TVPRA - Trafficking Victims Protection Act)

    Did the Feds Lose 1,475 Migrant Children?

    May 25, 2018

    Rich Lowry

    Children traveling with a caravan of migrants from Central America play on the beach near the border fence between Mexico and the U.S., prior to preparations for an asylum request in the U.S., in Tijuana, Mexico April 29, 2018. (Jorge Duenes/Reuters)

    That’s what you would conclude from this USA Today opinion pieceheadlined, “The feds lost — yes, lost — 1,475 migrant children.” It’s a piece that’s a pretty good example of how “fake news” works — there’s some factual basis for the claim, but it’s exaggerated or misunderstood, and then fed into the maw of the perpetual outrage cycle, in this case about the alleged extreme carelessness and heartlessness of the Trump administration toward migrant children.

    Some background: As we all know, in recent years there has been a flood of “unaccompanied children” (UAC) showing up at the border. The U.S. government attempts to unite UAC with a parent or close relative in the U.S. The HHS program to do this is longstanding and long pre-dated the Trump administration.

    Given the size of the migrant flow, the scale of this task is enormous. The USA Today piece cites this congressional testimony by HHS official Steven Wagner who oversees the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) as its source. Wagner relates the numbers:

    In fiscal year (FY) 2017, 40,810 children were referred to ORR from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In FY 2018 (through March), we have had 21,574 referrals. Although March and April of FY 2017 had the lowest referrals since FY 2012, referrals started to slowly increase in May of 2017, and today are significantly higher than just a couple of months ago. To illustrate, in March 2017, ORR had 755 referrals; while in March 2018, ORR had 4,204 referrals.

    Most are placed with parents or close relatives:

    In FY 2017, children typically stayed in ORR custody for 51 days and so far in FY 2018 (through March) average length of stay has been 56 days. ORR releases the majority of UAC to sponsors. In FY 2017, ORR released 93 percent of children to a sponsor. Of those, ORR released 49 percent to parents, 41 percent to close relatives, and 10 percent to other-than-close relatives or non-relatives. In FY 2018, we have released 90 percent of children to individual sponsors and of those sponsors, 41 percent were parents, 47 percent were close relatives, and 11 percent were other-than-close relatives or non-relatives.

    There is a system of sponsor assessments that since early 2016 has been enhanced, according to Wagner:

    In the area of home studies, ORR made two significant policy changes in March 2016. A home study is an in-depth investigation of the potential sponsor’s ability to ensure the child’s safety and well-being. The process includes background checks of the sponsor and adult household members, home visits, in-person interviews of the proposed sponsor and possibly interviews with other household members, and post-release services. The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA of 200 mandates home studies in certain situations, but the March 2016 policy changes led to an increase in discretionary home studies, which are home studies that are not required by law. One of these policy changes focused on tender age UAC. ORR began requiring home studies for all UAC 12 years of age and younger being released to non-relative sponsors. The other change underscored the need for case managers and case coordinators, who have direct contact with UAC, to recommend home studies, even if not required by the TVPRA of 2008, if they think a home study would provide additional information required to determine that the sponsor is able to care for the health, safety, and well-being of the child.

    Wagner also notes this improvement:

    Another step in improving the safety of releases is to contact the child and the sponsor shortly after release, which is a critical adjustment period. To accomplish this, ORR initiated safety and well-being calls. A case manager contacts the child and the sponsor 30 days after release. The case manager confirms that the child is still residing with the sponsor, is enrolled in school, is aware of upcoming court dates, and, most importantly, is safe. If the case manager, or any other ORR grantee or contractor that has contact with a released child, has a concern about the child’s safety or well-being, they are required to take steps under ORR’s new “post-release reporting system for notifications of concern.”

    And this is where the USA Today piece comes in. It fastens on this passage:

    From October to December 2017, ORR attempted to reach 7,635 UAC and their sponsors. Of this number, ORR reached and received agreement to participate in the safety and well-being call from approximately 86 percent of sponsors. From these calls, ORR learned that 6,075 UAC remained with their sponsors. Twenty-eight UAC had run away, five had been removed from the United States, and 52 had relocated to live with a non-sponsor. ORR was unable to determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,475 UAC. Based on the calls, ORR referred 792 cases, which were in need of further assistance, to the National Call Center for additional information and services.

    Of course, all the context is left out of the USA Today piece, which at one point falsely says, “the federal government has lost — yes, lost — 1,475 migrant children in its custody.” But these children weren’t in HHS custody. They were placed with sponsors that HHS vetted. It’d obviously be better if HHS could locate all of the sponsors in its follow-up. Some of them surely moved, and perhaps others, if they or family members are illegal immigrants, may not want to be in further contact with authorities.

    I’m sure this program can be improved in all sort of ways, like all government programs. But the root of the problem is that unaccompanied children are showing up at our border, a situation that is fraught with peril. We should be doing all we can to stop that flow so a federal bureaucracy doesn’t have responsibility for finding adults to care for them, but the same people frothing with outrage over the USA Today piece have very little interest in trying to do that.
    Last edited by GeorgiaPeach; 06-05-2018 at 02:51 PM.
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    Matthew 19:26
    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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