Lawmakers demand answers from HHS over allegations of transferring migrant children to criminals

"If these claims are true, this is pure evil being committed by your agency."

Updated: December 8, 2022 - 7:44pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Documents

Links

Republican lawmakers have asked the Department of Health and Human Services to account for whistleblower allegations that HHS is "knowingly" placing unaccompanied migrant children in the hands of criminals.

Tara Lee Rodas, who helped HHS process migrant children at a California Emergency Intake Site, spoke to investigative outlet Project Veritas when making the bombshell allegations.

Americans "have no idea that children are going to unrelated people," she said. "That children are definitely — we have proof, evidence — that they are being recruited and transported. They are then in debt bondage."

The Biden administration "relaxed a lot of the stringent vetting by creating these additional field guidances, and there's a focus on 'move the children' as opposed to 'place children in safe homes.' Right now, it is speed over safety," she further asserted.

Now, Senate Republicans want answers from HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra about the veracity of Rodas's claims.

"We write concerning an alarming report by a federal employee whistleblower that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is knowingly transferring unaccompanied migrant children in the custody of criminals, including sex traffickers," wrote GOP Sens. Rick Scott, Fla.; Ron Johnson, Wis.; Josh Hawley, Mo.; Mike Braun, Ind.; and Ted Cruz, Texas.

"If these claims are true, this is pure evil being committed by your agency," they contended. "This cannot be swept under the rug; the American public must know the truth about what is happening to these victims of the Biden Administration's inhumane open border policies."

"We have long known that the Biden Administration's open border policies are fueling human trafficking and child sex trafficking, as migrants repay debts to the cartels who transport them to illegally cross the border," the lawmakers went on. "We have repeatedly pressed HHS and the Department of Homeland Security for information on what the federal government is doing to ensure we are not facilitating the cartels' trafficking operations.

"It is infuriating that, according to Ms. Rodas, HHS is doing nothing to protect these vulnerable individuals and shows indifference in its knowledge that it hands children over to criminals for exploitation," the letter read.

"Stop sending unaccompanied children to homes with unrelated adults and criminals," they then demanded.

The Republicans went on to ask that Becerra provide a detailed response to Rodas's claims, existing HHS guidance on vetting sponsors, explain its existing related polices, and provide data on HHS referrals made thus far about fraudulent sponsors and potential abuse.