Is the US Losing Children!? 🚸

 Central American children at an immigrant respite center in McAllen, Tex., after their families were released by United States immigration officials in February. Source: NYT. Credit: John Moore/Getty Images

Central American children at an immigrant respite center in McAllen, Tex., after their families were released by United States immigration officials in February. Source: NYT. Credit: John Moore/Getty Images

1,500 and not counting

On April 26, 2018, the New York Times and other outlets reported that the U.S. government had lost track of ~1,500 migrant children it had placed into the homes of caregivers. The alarming nature of the headlines prompted many readers to question the accuracy of the reports. The reports were based on statements made at a hearing by Steven Wagner of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Whereabouts Unknown

The relevant portion of Wagner’s testimony is below:
“From October to December 2017, ORR [Office of Refugee Resettlement] attempted to reach 7,635 UAC [unaccompanied alien children] and their sponsors.” “ORR was unable to determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,475 UAC.”



The right approached the news primarily in one of two ways. One option was to lay blame on the historic underperformance of HHS and use the story as an opportunity to showcase how the government needs to be changed. The second option was to lay out the facts of the case followed by an appeal to strengthen immigration laws along with an emphasis on the policies being created by the Trump administration. One such policy has called for amending a law to allow the government to send more migrant children back to their home countries more quickly if they are not at risk of trafficking.

The left ratcheted up the press on this story nearly a month after it broke because of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ "zero-tolerance" immigration policy, announced recently. The left seeks to paint the administration as both heartless and incompetent. The left takes comments from notables to emphasize these points as well as some poorly stated statements from Trump administration officials. The left also takes the principled stand that “it was a matter of humanity, not simply legal responsibility.”


Are the kids really missing?

Looking beyond the sensationalist headlines of the left and the stricter immigration policy proposals from the right, the question remains: are nearly 1,500 migrant children missing? The short answer is “no,” but that doesn’t mean the children are in good care. Some children might have been placed with relatives who stopped checking in with HHS; however, others might land in situations where they are open to sexual abuse and exploitation, as reported here. At the end of the day, most of these children have been separated from their families through no fault of their own. Shouldn’t we have a high standard to take care of them?

Even Ron does it for the kids

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