An open U.S. border and encouraging migrants to come to the United States may sound humane and hopeful, but Texas officials warned this week that it is anything but. Those most endangered when migrants flood into the country: unaccompanied minor children.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the Biden administration, as it reversed President Trump's efforts to control the border, was totally unprepared for the resulting number of children coming across the border.
"What the Biden administration is doing by allowing any child who wants to come across the border to come here, it means he is going to subject thousands upon thousands and thousands of children to the horrific trauma, maybe assault and human trafficking that these children have to go through as they make that trek to the border. I urge President Biden, do not traumatize these children by enticing them to make this trek," he said, according to a report in TownHall.
Andrea Sparks, director of the Texas Child Sex Trafficking Team, expressed her grave concerns about the unintended consequences of what has been trumpeted as a more compassionate policy at the border.
"We are very concerned at the child sex trafficking team about the youth and the children who are coming across the border. They are in a perfect storm of vulnerability," Sparks said. "We have heard of children as young as six coming across the border. They are scared. They are confused and they are very likely to end up in the hands of an exploiter from what we know about human trafficking and how it works."
Texas Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said the mass influx of women and children overwhelms Border Patrol and creates gaps that drug cartels and child traffickers can exploit.
"The challenge they have in interviewing these children is this: they've been threatened by the cartels. When the cartel says, 'if you talk, we're going to kill your families,' ...they believe them," he explained.
McCraw detailed how many young girls are subject to gang rape and forced prostitution. "When they are brought across, they are preyed upon by individuals amongst the smugglers, by the cartel operatives and others," he said.
Governor Abbott says there have been migrant influxes in the past. But this time it is different in that there are far more numbers of unaccompanied minors coming across the border. The Biden administration, he says, has made it clear that if they come to the border they will be allowed into the United States. Trump policy was to return them to their homes as soon as possible. Abbott says he expects even more children in the future and that Texas is trying to prepare.
"Because it is clear what is about to happen in the coming weeks and months and that is the number of children you see have come across the border already is going to be a tiny fraction of what we will see in the coming months. We're trying to get ahead of this as much as possible."
Abbott says Texas is willing to do its part, but that immigration is a federal responsibility. He called on the Biden administration to step up and do its job.
"In part, it's the policies that have been adopted by the Biden administration that have escalated the number of children coming across the border where the Biden administration has made it clear that if you are an unaccompanied child you'll be allowed to come into the United States. That means we need to engage now more than ever before with regard to the human trafficking component."
— CBN News (@CBNNews) March 19, 2021
Young migrants who were caught trying to sneak into the U.S. are led by a U.S. Border agent at the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge while being deported to Reynosa, Mexico, March 18, 2021, in Hidalgo, Texas (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)