Tim Ballard Testifies: 'Open' U.S. Borders Exploiting Migrant Children, Aiding Sex Traffickers
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Summer break is over and Congress is getting back to work with immigration reform as a top priority.
Several hearings were held Wednesday, all focused on the southern border crisis, from the human impact of Biden administration border policies to the effect on the American workforce.
There's bipartisan agreement the border crisis negatively affects both Americans and migrants, the big disconnect comes in whose to blame.
"President Biden took an oath to enforce our nation's laws, and yet he's not doing that on the subject of immigration," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said during one hearing.
"It was actually the Trump administration's border policies that imposed devastating human costs on families and children," Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MISS), said at another hearing.
During a House Homeland Security Committee hearing, Tim Ballard, a former DHS agent and the inspiration for the motion picture Sound of Freedom, testified that the failure to secure the border benefits human traffickers.
"I have personally seen how ports of entry were responsible for helping rescue a child, catch a sexual predator, and start a chain of events that rescued multiple children from his abuse. On the other hand, I've spoken with survivors who were trafficked by cartels taking advantage of the miles of unprotected U.S. border," Ballard told lawmakers.
He also pointed to data from the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) showing at least 85,000 unaccompanied minors have disappeared after entering the U.S., and after being placed in the custody of un-vetted "sponsors."
"It's more difficult to adopt a cat from a shelter in the United States, than it is to go down and take one of these children out of the custody of HHS and claim that, 'I'm the sponsor,'" Ballard explained.
Meanwhile, Democrat witness Lee Gelernt, an ACLU attorney, highlighted the estimated 5,500 children separated from their parents under the Trump administration's policies.
"Five years later, hundreds of children have still not been reunited with their parents because of failure to document and keep track of the parents and children," Gelernt said.
Mayra Cantu, the wife of a border patrol agent, addressed the trauma experienced daily by her husband and his colleagues in their interactions with migrants.
"Imagine this, a child who has just been through a horrible, traumatizing journey, may have possibly been raped or tortured by bad people, has gained the trust of an agent, and poured out every emotion he's been holding back. What was the plan for our agents who would be hearing these stories from the millions of illegal immigrants you knew were crossing," Cantu said.
Meanwhile, the White House is also facing backlash from Democrat mayors in cities like New York, and Chicago, which are struggling to deal with a major influx of migrants over the last year.
Just this weekend, New York City Mayor Eric Adams warned that all city agencies could see budgets cut by 15 percent because of the increased cost of the crisis.
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