published : 2023-09-12
Ex-DHS Agent and GOP Rep Demand Biden Admin Find 85K 'Missing' Migrant Kids
Tim Ballard and Rep. Chris Smith introduce bill to locate unaccompanied minors
Renowned former Homeland Security agent and undercover operative Tim Ballard, whose experiences inspired the film 'Sound of Freedom,' has joined forces with Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey to demand that the Biden administration locate approximately 85,000 unaccompanied minors who crossed the southern border and remain unaccounted for in the U.S.
At a press conference in Washington, D.C., Smith announced the introduction of new legislation known as the 'Safeguarding Endangered Children, Unaccompanied and at Risk of Exploitation Act of 2023,' also referred to as the 'SECURE Act of 2023.' The bill aims to compel the federal government to report on efforts to locate and protect these vulnerable children.
Citing alarming HHS data, Ballard highlighted the fact that at least 85,000 children have seemingly 'disappeared into the belly of the country that consumes more child exploitation material than any other country on the planet.' He strongly condemned the open border policies of the Biden administration, arguing that they have posed a significant risk to these minors.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics, over 345,000 children have crossed the southern border unaccompanied since early 2021. The bill reveals that many of these children have fallen victim to abhorrent crimes such as child sex trafficking, forced child labor, and child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Ballard recounted his recent meetings with the presidents of Honduras and Guatemala, who shared their concerns about women and children being subjected to terrifying situations due to the actions of the United States. He pointed out the staggering profits made by traffickers along the Mexican border, estimated at $14 million per day.
Blaming the Biden administration's lax policies, Ballard argued that the release of these children to sponsors without proper vetting has essentially turned Border Patrol, DHS, and HHS personnel into facilitators of child trafficking. He stressed the need for comprehensive background checks, DNA testing, and stringent protocols to ensure the safety of these vulnerable individuals.
Under the proposed legislation, HHS, DHS, and the FBI would be required to submit regular reports to congressional committees on the status of all unaccompanied minors released and resettled in the U.S. since January 2021. These reports would assess the risk of trafficking, exploitation, and abuse, and demand proper vetting of adults in their new homes.
To enforce accountability, the bill also includes penalties, potentially deducting up to $10 million from HHS, DHS, and the FBI in unobligated funds if the required status reports are submitted late. The reports will continue until all missing unaccompanied children are accounted for or after three years have passed since the submission of the first report.
The film 'Sound of Freedom,' which is based on Ballard's remarkable story, has faced unwarranted associations with right-wing conspiracy theories. However, the director and co-writer emphasize that the movie is not political and instead aims to shed light on human trafficking. Meanwhile, Smith, a long-time advocate for trafficking victims, presents a strong track record with anti-trafficking legislation, and Ballard's organization, Operation Underground Railroad, has made a significant impact in this field.
With the introduction of the SECURE Act of 2023, Ballard, Smith, and their supporters hope to bring attention to the pressing issue of missing unaccompanied migrant children and implement measures that will safeguard their well-being, ensuring that these innocent lives are no longer subjected to exploitation and abuse.