Governor Greg Abbott today sent a letter to Vice President — and newly named Border Czar — Kamala Harris demanding answers and swift action from the Biden Administration to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the border. In the letter, the Governor also urges Vice President Harris to visit the border to see the crisis for herself.
The Governor is urging the administration to interview every unaccompanied minor coming across the border to determine if any child has been harmed, groomed, or victimized by human traffickers in any way. Governor Abbott demanded that Vice President Harris and the Biden Administration make clear what they are doing to prosecute human traffickers and address the surge in border crossings.
“Now that President Biden has named you Border Czar in charge of the administration’s response, I want to express to you the threats and challenges caused by this administration’s open border policies,” said Governor Abbott. “These policies embolden and enrich cartels, smugglers, and human traffickers who continue to ramp up their criminal operations. Given your new role as the administration’s Border Czar, I urge you to visit the border to see the crisis for yourself, and I implore the Biden administration to take swift action to secure the border, crack down on human trafficking, and prevent more children from being trafficked and abused.”
In the letter to Vice President Harris, the Governor again laid out several questions for the Biden Administration that have continued to go unanswered:
- Who is assisting these children as they travel through Mexico and cross the U.S. border?
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas has acknowledged that many of these children have been abused or harmed during their journeys. What is the administration doing to eliminate that harm?
- Were these children forced to carry contraband into the United States?
- Were these children or their families assisted, coerced, and threatened by cartel members or human traffickers?
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has vaguely suggested that these children are screened by appropriately trained personnel to identify potential victims of abuse, assault, and trafficking, but has provided no further information. What screening is being done? When is that screening taking place and by whom? Are these children being provided a thorough medical screening that may separately identify abuse and assault?
- How many victims of physical abuse, sexual assault, or trafficking has the administration identified?
- Is the federal government using DNA tests to confirm familial relations? How else is the administration ensuring that these children are being released to safe, trustworthy adults?
- What specific measures can the administration point to that confirm that these children are not released to human traffickers in the United States?
- What action is your administration taking to prosecute those who traffic unaccompanied minors?
On March 6th, Governor Abbott announced Operation Lone Star to send law enforcement personnel and resources to high threat areas along the border. On March 17th, he expanded the Operation to include anti-human trafficking efforts.