While the major media rakes the Trump Administration over the coals for its treatment of children accompanying illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border, such children fared far worse under the Obama Administration. A 2016 Senate report revealed how the Obama Administration regularly released children apprehended at the border to human traffickers falsely claiming to be relatives. These children were then forced to perform unpaid manual labor, were beaten and under-fed, and the Obama Administration failed to follow up and ensure their safety. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who commissioned the report, said: "It is intolerable that human trafficking — modern-day slavery — could occur in our own backyard." Worse, he went on, is that the federal government is "delivering some of the victims into the hands of their abusers."
"Over a period of four months in 2014, however, HHS allegedly placed a number of unaccompanied alien children in the hands of a ring of human traffickers who forced them to work on egg farms in and around Marion, Ohio, leading to a federal criminal indictment. According to the indictment, the minor victims were forced to work six or seven days a week, twelve hours per day," the report said. "The traffickers repeatedly threatened the victims and their families with physical harm, and even death, if they did not work or surrender their entire paychecks. The indictment alleges that the defendants “used a combination of threats, humiliation, deprivation, financial coercion, debt manipulation, and monitoring to create a climate of fear and helplessness that would compel [the victims’] compliance.”
Obama's Health and Human Services, tasked with ensuring these minors' safety, instead failed to perform background checks on the "sponsors" they were being handed off to, despite the law compelling such public records checks. "HHS failed to run background checks on the adults in the sponsors’ households as well as secondary caregivers, failed to visit any of the sponsors’ homes; and failed to realize that a group of sponsors was accumulating multiple unrelated children," the report details. "In August 2014, HHS permitted a sponsor to block a child-welfare case worker from visiting with one of the victims, even after the case worker discovered the child was not living at the address on file with HHS." The Washington Post reported at the time on two particularly egregious examples:
For example, one Guatemalan boy planned to live with his uncle in Virginia. But when the uncle refused to take the boy, he ended up with another sponsor, who forced him to work nearly 12 hours a day to repay a $6,500 smuggling debt, which the sponsor later increased to $10,900, the report said. A boy from El Salvador was released to his father even though he told a caseworker that his father had a history of beating him, including hitting him with an electrical cord. In September, the boy alerted authorities that his father was forcing him to work for little or no pay, the report said; a post-release service worker later found the boy was being kept in a basement and given little food. The 56-page report noted that HHS allowed traffickers to refuse visits from government inspectors. The children themselves almost never showed up to scheduled court appearances, so their well being was virtually impossible to verify.