Dozens of migrant children reported missing in Houston: Reuters
US federal and local officials are reportedly struggling to locate close to a dozen unaccompanied migrant children in Houston, Texas.
Houston police raised concerns about a trend of migrant children reported missing in Texas City, according to Reuters.
Simultaneously, federal and local officials are reportedly struggling to locate close to a dozen unaccompanied migrant children, the report said.
The grim cases shed the light once again on Biden’s failure to deal with the immigration crisis in the US, most notably as a record number of unaccompanied minors are arriving at the southwest border.
A Houston police detective alerted the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) earlier this summer after discovering what appeared to be a pattern of migrant children missing from the homes of their US sponsors, a source within HHS told Reuters.
It is worth noting that the HHS is the federal agency in charge of the custody and release of children who have crossed the US-Mexico border without the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
In an unprecedented move, the HHS refugee office implemented an emergency supervisory review of unaccompanied child releases to non-parent sponsors in the Houston area in August, as per Reuters.
The HHS discovered that 57 unaccompanied migrant children had gone missing in Houston since late last year. The count included nine children who escaped from HHS shelters in the Houston area.
The news agency quoted the HHS official as claiming that 46 of them were safe as of August 26.
Authorities claim to have found no evidence of sex or labor trafficking thus far, as per the report.
The report added that some of the missing children who have been found are now 18 years old or older.
A few left the homes of relatives acting as sponsors to join parents in the United States, according to the official, who added that the number of cases being reviewed is small in comparison to the overall volume of releases to the area.
Houston's Harris County, Texas, is considered the No. 1 stop for unaccompanied minors, with over 6,300 released between October 2021, when this fiscal year began, and June 2022.
Since Biden took office in January 2021, more than 200,000 non-Mexican minors who cannot be quickly turned around at the border have been caught crossing alone.
At the beginning of Biden’s presidency, an increase in unaccompanied minors overwhelmed Border Patrol stations, trapping children in overcrowded conditions for more than 72 hours.
Children are released to more distant relatives or unrelated adults who have been vetted in some cases (about 15% of all releases in the fiscal year 2022 so far), according to data provided by HHS.
An official with the HHS inspector general's office said, as quoted by Reuters, that he had never seen such a large number of unaccompanied minors reported missing in one area.
The official has also noted that it has been unclear whether the trend was new or had been discovered recently by the Houston Police Department.
On its account, the city's police department said it was "currently conducting investigations into reports of missing, unaccompanied juveniles".
The HHS found dozens of children had been released to similar addresses, which can be a red flag for possible trafficking, the HHS official said as quoted by Reuters.
Approximately 60 cases for release had been exposed to additional review, with 53 of those cases cleared for release as of Aug. 26, according to the same source.
Despite all this, releases from HHS custody were halted last year in and around the southern Alabama town of Enterprise.
According to three sources familiar with the investigations as quoted by Reuters, an HHS investigation at the time was focused on whether minors were being exploited for labor by traffickers.
In short, Biden’s arrival at the White House came with promises of a more human approach toward migrants, which led to an increase in the flow of immigrants trying to cross the US-Mexico border. Nevertheless, Biden immediately displayed a radically different approach, treating immigrants in the same fashion, if not even worse, than his openly-racist Republican predecessor Donald Trump.