Here's what's really happening with the 1,500 'missing' immigrant children

Clay Curtis
June 1, 2018

On Sunday, numerous media outlets reported that the United States had lost track of almost 1,500 immigrant children that it placed with sponsors - the number was disclosed by Steven Wagner, a senior official with the Department of Health and Human Services, to a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee last month.

"The U.S. lost track of 1,475 immigrant children previous year". Duffy argues that outrage over the missing kids is based on confusion and misinterpretation, and "could SERIOUSLY threaten the children" people are trying to save.

The Department of Health and Human Services has faced widespread backlash after it emerged in April that the Office of Refugee Resettlement could not account for the whereabouts of as many as 20 percent of undocumented children placed with sponsors. In normal circumstances, the photo is pretty innocuous, but due to reports that the United States government lost 1,500 migrant children who entered the U.S.at the Mexican border, it comes off as tone deaf.

US President Donald Trump implied the Democrats were behind the policy of removing children from their families.

He testified at the hearing on April 26 that ORR tried to reach 7,635 children and their sponsors during that time frame. From these calls, ORR learned that 6,075 UAC remained with their sponsors. "ORR was unable to determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,475 UAC".

The office is "exploring the question of ORR's responsibilities ... and whether the level of responsibility would differ depending on the child's relationship to his or her sponsor", the report said.

"It was never meant to be a foster care system with more than 10,000 children in custody at an immediate cost to the federal taxpayer of over one billion dollars per year".

"The tracking of [undocumented minors] after release is just one of the recent headlines that focus on the symptoms of our broken immigration system while ignoring fundamental flaws", he said.

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The children are not lost, HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan said in a statement.

"These children are not 'lost;' their sponsors-who are usually parents or family members and in all cases have been vetted for criminality and ability to provide for them-simply did not respond or could not be reached when this voluntary call was made", Hargan's statement said.

He added, "This makes the immediate crisis worse and creates a perverse incentive for further violation of federal immigration law".

Whatever the reason for being unable to reach these sponsors, the federal government acknowledges it can not verify the location of these immigrant minors.

As a separate matter, some children also arrive at the U.S. border with adults who are illegally entering the U.S. The current DHS policy can result in immigrant children being separated from these adults upon entry into the U.S. Mr. Trump seized on that error.

Ivanka Trump received severe flak on Twitter as she posted a photo of herself cuddling her little son, even as there are reports that 1,475 children have gone missing when they crossed the US-Mexico border on their own. "Dems must agree to Wall and new Border Protection for good of country.Bipartisan Bill!"

The issue of undocumented children entering the USA became a hot topic when it was reported last month that over 1,400 children had been misplaced by the government.

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