Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) methodically laid out the case Tuesday for why Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is importing teenage slavery by having open border policies that don't prevent and discourage illegal immigration.
Hawley shamed Mayorkas for his inaction on the border during a Senate hearing, noting that hundreds of thousands of teens have entered the country and now work long hours to pay back "modern day slave traders" who got them into the country.
“Why is it that you have enabled 345,000 children [and teenagers] to be smuggled across this border and then sent into the hands of modern-day slave traders?” Hawley asked Mayorkas during the hearing.
“These are modern-day slave traders, and you’re just giving these children to them. What is going on? Why are you doing this?” Hawley said.
Articles in the New York Times documented the practice of saddling teens with crippling debts to smuggle them into the country, then forcing them to work full-time or overtime while attending school (0r dropping out) in order to pay the debts.
"Again and again, veteran government staffers and outside contractors told the Health and Human Services Department, including in reports that reached Secretary Xavier Becerra, that children appeared to be at risk. The Labor Department put out news releases noting an increase in child labor. Senior White House aides were shown evidence of exploitation, such as clusters of migrant children who had been found working with industrial equipment or caustic chemicals," the Times read.
"One [migrant], Marvin Che, said he came to the United States last year, when he was 16, and had been working 12-hour overnight shifts alongside other migrant children packing products at the manufacturer Pactiv Evergreen, including Hefty plastic party cups. 'We came alone, so we have to work hard,' Marvin said," according to the Times.
The articles also claimed that 12 and 13-year-olds were being forced to work by sponsors within the United States, even though they are underage.
Mayorkas refused to give a straight answer to Hawley's questions, however.
“There are a number of factual inaccuracies in your question," he said, claiming his agency would police more job sites in the future.
"[That is] quite a number of false statements … So if I can state what I’ve been trying to state: One of the significant policy decisions we have made is to focus our worksite enforcement investigative efforts, our criminal investigative efforts, on unscrupulous employers that exploit individuals because of their vulnerabilities, and that includes underage workers," Mayorkas claimed.
With the problem already widespread and most of the child workers too afraid to speak up, however, this answer is not sufficient to explain why the Biden administration would let the children into the country relatively unsupervised in the first place.
Is it any wonder Republicans want to impeach Mayorkas for ignoring border laws and refusing to enforce them?
The consequences of illegal immigration are far-reaching, both for Americans and for the migrants themselves.