Florida grand jury accuses Biden administration of abetting 'forced migration, sale' of foreign kids
"Public is led to believe that the process described by our federal government in documents and popular media accounts at least resembled the truth," but it does not, grand jurors declare.
A Florida grand jury's five-month probe into the government's processing of unaccompanied migrant children is poking a major hole into President Joe Biden's border narrative, concluding his administration has been "facilitating the forced migration, sale, and abuse of foreign children."
In an interim report released by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, the grand jury raised deep concerns about the Homeland Security Department and Department of Health and Human Service's Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) implementation of the Unaccompanied Alien Child (UAC) program, saying the government's rhetoric does not match its performance.
"Like many of our fellow Floridians, we had no pre-existing knowledge about how UAC are processed, how their sponsors are selected, how they arrive in Florida, and how they are cared for upon arrival," the jurors wrote in a report released last week. "The public is led to believe that the process described by our federal government in documents and popular media accounts at least resembled the truth.
"ORR asserts that children fleeing from danger are adequately identified, properly cared for, and reunited with their family here in this country. In reality, ORR is facilitating the forced migration, sale, and abuse of foreign children, and some of our fellow Florida residents are (in some cases unwittingly) funding and incentivizing it for primarily economic reasons."
You can read the full report here:
The grand jurors said they were shaken by the stories, photos and videos of migrant children and what they endured during their journey to the U.S. southern border in the hands of drug cartel traffickers and other bad actors.
Federal agencies encourage unaccompanied minors "to undertake and/or be subjected to a harrowing trek to our border, ultimately abandoning significant numbers of those who survive the journey to an uncertain fate with persons who are largely unvetted," the jurors warned.
"This process exposes children to horrifying health conditions, constant criminal threat, labor and sex trafficking, robbery, rape, and other experiences not done justice by mere words," they added. "We will never be able to forget or un-see some of the heart-wrenching testimony, disturbing videos, wrenching testimony, for example regarding brutal and horrific murders committed against civilian tourists, law enforcement officers, and even sponsors of immigrants, by those who had no legal right to be in the country in the first place."
The report comes more than 18 months after a 24-year-old Honduran immigrant posed as a minor child and was charged with stabbing to death a Florida man whose family had taken him in. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis subsequently signed into law a ban prohibiting state and local government entities from contracting with entities that knowingly traffic illegal aliens into the state.
The grand jury suggested, however, that Florida has in some cases been unable to enforce the law because federal agencies are keeping state officials in the dark.
"Florida receives no information on backgrounds, criminal history or immigration status of the UAC brought here, nor does the state have any assurance the UAC are in-fact minors," the jurors noted.
DeSantis asked last June for the grand jury to be empaneled to conduct an informational review of the trafficking of minor migrants.
The jurors chronicled the meteoric increase in the number of unaccompanied minors arriving in the U.S. since Biden took office, and declared that it had imposed a "significant cost to our State due to the unlawful presence of such individuals and the resources which must be diverted to deal with them."
The ORR program had "approximately 3,700 children in its care at the end of calendar year 2020," the report noted. "By the end of March 31, 2021, that number had tripled to approximately 10,500. By April and May 2021, it had nearly doubled again to over 20,000.
"Since March 2021, HHS has consistently had, on average, 11,000 children in its care each month," it added, putting that number into historical perspective. "For FY 2015, a total of 27,340 UAC were released into the custody of sponsors in this country. In FY 2022, that number was 127,447, nearly a five-fold increase — and 13,195 of them were released in Florida."
The grand jury made several recommendations to the Florida Legislature, including requiring all social service agencies and shelters to report migrants in their care as well as enhanced criminal penalties for those who traffic or abuse migrant children.