Migrant kid labor brutality wrought by Vice President Kamala Harris

By Jon Feere on June 11, 2023

New York Post, June 11, 2023

The explosion in illegal-migrant child labor at work sites across the nation is the direct result of an anti-enforcement policy created by Vice President Kamala Harris when she was serving in Congress.

This policy has been included in every funding bill for the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since 2019 and it now rests on Republicans in the US House of Representatives to reverse course.

But will they?

During the first two years of the Trump administration, then-Sen. Harris was angry that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was working with US Health and Human Services (HHS) to run background checks on unaccompanied alien children (UACs) and their sponsors, and making arrests where appropriate.

This effort was in response to years of lax vetting of UACs and sponsors under the Obama administration, and the resulting child labor — a topic that received significant attention in a scathing, bipartisan report from the Senate’s Subcommittee on Investigations in 2016.

Safeguards tossed

A Memorandum of Agreement required HHS to share with ICE information on UACs in their custody, such as criminal activity, allegations of abuse, violence, gang affiliation and also information about the potential sponsors of UACs, including background information on any other adults that would be living at the same address.

In response, ICE was required to share with HHS information contained in ICE databases on the criminal and immigration histories of the potential sponsors and all adult members in sponsor households so that HHS could make informed suitability determinations before handing a child off to a sponsor.

Anyone concerned about the safety of children recognizes that this is a good thing.

This effort undoubtedly prevented a lot of child exploitation, and likely had the added benefit of discouraging the smuggling of children to the US border, many of whom are harmed on their way to the United States.

But then-Sen. Harris said it was “outrageous” that ICE was arresting potential sponsors of UACs.

She issued a press release announcing legislation to prohibit immigration enforcement on UACs, their potential sponsors and any other adult living at the address where a child might be sent to live.

Under Harris’ legislation, if ICE was to discover through cooperation with HHS that a potential UAC sponsor was in the United States illegally with multiple convictions for child sex abuse on their record, Harris would require ICE to look the other way and never arrest or deport the criminal.

Not only did Harris’ bill effectively give an amnesty to dangerous criminal illegal aliens, it also would have transferred $220 million out of ICE’s already-appropriated 2019 budget to non-profit organizations for providing social services (e.g., “acculturation”, “therapeutic”, and “legal services”) to the UACs and their sponsors.

Reckless overhaul

When Democrats took control of the House (and congressional spending) in 2019, one of their first acts was to gut this information-sharing effort by putting language from Harris’ bill into a DHS funding bill.

Though the final version makes some exceptions for UAC sponsors with records for crimes like child abuse, the backgrounds of most illegal aliens are entirely unknown.

Today, Harris’ prohibition on ICE enforcement continues, allowing adults with unknown backgrounds living illegally in the United States to travel to the border, pick up an illegal alien child with an unknown background, and disappear into our country.

Child smuggling rings operate with a reduced fear of being held accountable, and, predictably, child labor has grown exponentially at work sites across the country.

“We will ultimately be judged as a society by how we treat our children,” explained Harris in her anti-enforcement press release.

How does Kamala Harris believe she should be judged now that exploitation of UACs has exploded because of her policies?

How should the House GOP be judged if it allows this anti-enforcement provision to continue in the forthcoming DHS funding bill?

Stopping this provision isn’t enough.

Just as congressional Democrats prohibited ICE from making arrests of UAC sponsors via a funding bill, congressional Republicans can require ICE to make these arrests via a funding bill. Will they?