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State attorneys general say more than 85,000 children lost at the border

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(The Center Square) – Twenty-two state attorneys general said Monday more than 85,000 migrant children could be lost based on a report from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The report issued this month shows many of the children could be in the labor market or sex trafficked, they said in a letter.

“By law, the Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for keeping these children safe when they arrive,” the attorneys general said in their letter. “That responsibility includes reuniting children with family or placing them with a sponsor who will protect them from trafficking and exploitation. But that Department is not living up to its responsibilities, and the cost of that failure is tens of thousands of missing children.”

The attorneys general said the Biden administration needs to find the missing children. They are asking Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and FBI Director Christopher Wray to provide information on when the children were last seen and what safeguards are in place to ensure they are placed with family members.

“The Department of Health and Human Services must ensure that it is not handing over children to criminals and sex traffickers,” the attorneys general said. “It cannot do so if it does not know to whom it is handing these children.”

Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird led the coalition along with Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes.

“Losing 85,000 kids is like losing the entire population of Sioux City,” Bird said. “This is unacceptable. As a mom, it makes me sick to know that many of these missing kids have been trapped into forced labor and exploited by heinous sex traffickers. It’s the federal government’s job to keep these children safe. I’ve joined with 21 other attorneys general in demanding that the Biden Administration immediately locate and protect these children.”