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On Thursday, Senators Rick Scott, Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio introduced the Stop Human Trafficking of Unaccompanied Migrant Children ActThis bill addresses the recent reports of unaccompanied migrant children being released to sponsors who have not received proper screening from the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

Senator Rick Scott said, “No one is safe from the suffering caused by President Biden’s border crisis, especially children. The savage cartels don’t care about a child’s life, they happily traffic them across Biden’s wide open border and collect the payment without a minute of regret. That must end NOW. I have seven grandkids and I cannot imagine them ever being put at risk. Every child is worth protecting. Hundreds of thousands of migrant children have entered the federal government’s shelter system and President Biden’s administration is not doing nearly enough to keep them safe. We must ensure that these unaccompanied children placed with a sponsor by this administration are not being trafficked. I’m proud to lead my colleagues in introducing this good bill and implement real vetting that protects kids.”

Senator Tom Cotton said, “President Biden’s refusal to secure the border has turned the area into a hotbed of human trafficking, including trafficking of minors. Our bill will ensure that any unaccompanied children go to responsible, vetted, and legal adults.”

Senator Marco Rubio said, “The Biden Administration’s reckless approach to immigration puts vulnerable migrant children at risk. The recent reports of child labor violations are a disturbing reminder of the consequences of the president’s open border policies. The Stop Human Trafficking of Unaccompanied Migrant Children Act is an important step in preventing this from happening and ensuring that proper vetting procedures are in place to protect these vulnerable children.”

This bill will ensure extensive vetting by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and HHS before a vulnerable unaccompanied child is placed with a sponsor. Specifically, this bill requires a number of steps to be taken in the pre-release and post-release process when HHS places an unaccompanied migrant child with a prospective sponsor:

  • All categories of sponsors must be vetted before HHS placement of an unaccompanied child.
  • Vetting for all adults (18 and older) in the household before HHS placement of an unaccompanied child.
  • Prohibit placement of an unaccompanied child by HHS with a sponsor who is an illegal alien, unless the individual is a biological parent or relative.
  • HHS ORR must complete a home visit before the unaccompanied child is released, and at least 5 unannounced home visits during the first year an unaccompanied child is living with a sponsor.
  • A monthly reporting requirement for HHS and DHS to Congress.
  • Requires HHS and all consulting agencies to retroactively vet all sponsors in accordance with the vetting requirements of this bill (as-of January 20, 2021).
  • Require HHS and DHS to immediately report to Congress (every 30 days) on all efforts to account for all missing unaccompanied children that were placed with a sponsor and are now missing.

Author: Press Release


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