Biden Admin Criticized Over Report of Mishandling of Migrant Children

Matthew Dellinger
Matthew Dellinger
Matthew Dellinger holds a Political Science and History BS and is working towards a Masters in Public Administration. Before his time at Atlas he joined GoodPolitical to serve as a writer and contributor while also expanding his knowledge on global events. Matthew is proud to be a part of a news organization that believes in delivering truthful, unfiltered, and unbiased news to people around the world.

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What Happened:

The Biden administration has come under fire after a federal watchdog report shows that the Department of Health and Human Services mishandled multiple cases of sponsored adults receiving migrant children. The report details that HHS personnel failed to make the proper safety and background checks on sponsors that were set to receive children that arrived at the border without parents.

The timeline studied by the watchdog dates back to 2021, when there were millions of migrants surging at the border and HHS officials were overwhelmed by the sheer number of people they were trying to process. Including failure to properly screen, they also found that 1 in 5 families did not receive a follow up visit after sponsoring their child.

The Details:

HHS was apparently aware of the failures and has since implemented better training protocols. “We found that children’s case files and sponsor records were not always updated with important documentation and information,” said Haley Lubeck, an analyst for the HHS Office of Inspector General, which conducted the review. HHS spokesman Jeff Nesbitt said that HHS “has already improved through training, monitoring, technology, and evaluation.” HHS also claims that this report only details a frame of time where they were “overwhelmed with cases” and is not the full picture on their operations.

The details surrounding the improper screening include illegible ID’s, no proof of background checks or criminal history. It was found that 16% of the cases handled during the surge had improper screening or none at all. There is also a mandatory call-in that comes between 30-36 days after sponsors receive the children. During the surge, the report details that the average time was 122 days before the call occurred.

Biden’s administration has received criticism across the board for this. Advocate groups and members of Congress have both said that the “protection of children is paramount” and that this report must be taken seriously to implement change.

What’s Next:

Although HHS employees have improved the training that their staff receives, there are only so many resources on hand. Part of the border bill that is stuck in the Senate would provide HHS with more resources and overhaul their current system to safely and efficiently expedite the process.

Politically, this has added criticism to the administration’s border policies and put pressure on President Biden to work with the Senate to try and overhaul the system. HHS has claimed that they have gone over the policies and updated the training to avoid another similar situation, but advocates are concerned that it’s not enough.

Here is an Office of Inspector General Report detailing some of the findings.