The Biden Administration announced on Monday, February 27th, that it would be setting up a task force to combat the use of migrant child labor by companies and corporations in the United States. This is after hundreds of companies were found to be breaking federal laws by illegally employing migrant children. The task force would carry out more thorough investigations and widen the scope of the size of companies to be investigated. Close to 4,000 migrant children were discovered to be working for companies, evidence of a trend that has worsened over the last five years.
The availability of thousands of migrant children as laborers has been attributed to them being released from shelters and federal custody earlier than they are supposed to. The migrant children are being released into environments where they are considered to be vulnerable.
This early release has been blamed on Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. Becerra was seen as an advocate for immigrants before a recording of him speaking about the factories was leaked.
“If Henry Ford had seen this in his plants, he would have never become famous and rich,” Becerra is alleged to have said to staff during a meeting in a recording. “This is not the way you do an assembly line.”
However, President Joe Biden has pledged his support for Becerra according to the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre who was asked about President Biden’s feelings towards Berecca.
“Of course, the President does not believe that processing migrants should be treated like an assembly line, and neither does Secretary Becerra,” she said.
The Department of Labor and Health and Human Services is slated to also go on a drive to effectively tackle the matter of child exploitation. This would include ensuring their staff members thoroughly follow up on children who have been released into the custody of sponsors. The departments would also look for schools for migrant children and ensure that those who report safety concerns to the Office of Refugee Resettlement National Call Center would be followed up on. The Department of Labor has also expressed the possibility of barring the movement of goods and products produced by guilty companies.