Austin, TX - Governor Greg Abbott yesterday sent a letter to President Joe Biden demanding answers to the humanitarian crisis at the southern border. In his letter, the Governor urged President Biden and his administration to interview every unaccompanied minor coming across the border to determine if any child has been harmed, groomed, or victimized by human traffickers in any way.
Governor Abbott also demanded that the Biden Administration make clear what they are doing to prosecute human traffickers and address the surge in border crossings.
"Recent decisions by your administration are emboldening dangerous cartels, smugglers, and human traffickers to ramp up their criminal operations," reads the letter. "In many cases, these criminals entice unaccompanied minors into inhumane conditions and expose them to abuse and terror. We have a duty to investigate these border crossings so we can protect the victims of human trafficking that have already crossed our borders, crack down on the perpetrators of this heinous crime, and ensure federal policies do not allow – or even incentivize – such behavior. We must send a clear message to these criminals that human trafficking will not be tolerated in America, and that we will use every available resource to stop this abuse of basic human rights."
In the letter, the Governor laid out several questions for the Biden Administration:
How are these children coming across the border and who is helping them get here
Were these children abused or harmed in any way on their journeys?
Were these children forced to carry contraband into the United States?
Were these children or their families assisted, coerced, and threatened by cartel members or human traffickers?
Are these children being effectively screened by appropriately trained personnel to identify potential victims of abuse, assault, and trafficking? What is the screening tool being used? When is that screening taking place and by whom? Are these children being provided a thorough medical screening that may separately identify abuse and assault?
How many victims of physical abuse, sexual assault, or trafficking has your administration identified?
Are you using effective DNA tests to confirm familial relations? How else are you ensuring that these children are being released to safe, trustworthy adults?
What specific measures can you point to that confirm that these children are not released to human traffickers in the United States?
What action is your administration taking to prosecute those who traffic unaccompanied minors?
On March 6th, Governor Abbott announced Operation Lone Star to send law enforcement personnel and resources to high threat areas along the border. On March 17th, he expanded the Operation to include anti-human trafficking efforts.