Sen. Joe Manchin Leads Effort to Overturn Biden Administration Rule on Unaccompanied Minors


Sen. Joe Manchin (I-WV) is spearheading efforts to overturn a Biden administration rule concerning the handling of unaccompanied minors who cross the border illegally.

Supported by 45 Republicans, Manchin introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution urging the Department of Health and Human Services to make significant changes to the Unaccompanied Children Program, which he claims is a substantial financial burden on taxpayers.

The program aims to place these unaccompanied minors with sponsors, usually family members already residing in the United States. Manchin has voiced concerns over the inadequate vetting process of these sponsors, which does not adequately consider their criminal histories, illegal drug use, or records of abuse or neglect. The signatories also criticize the weak standards for home visits and the lack of communication of the sponsors’ immigration status to law enforcement.

“We have a crisis at our southern border, and its human impacts are absolutely devastating,” Manchin stated. “I have repeatedly urged President [Joe] Biden to use his executive authority to address the cycles of exploitation that are perpetuated by illegal immigration. Instead, the Administration is enforcing rules like this one that jeopardize the safety of migrant children by entrusting them to unvetted sponsors, all while spending billions of taxpayer dollars on this flawed program.”

In April, the HHS Department issued updated guidance on the standards for unaccompanied minors. Manchin’s announcement highlighted that the new rule complicates whistleblowers’ ability to report wrongdoing and misconduct within the program to Congress and the HHS inspector general.

Before April, the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement set the standards for the placement and release of unaccompanied children.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra noted that the April update now mandates background checks for all sponsors.

“By enhancing the legal framework governing the UC Program, we set clear standards for the care and treatment of unaccompanied children in ORR’s custody and the support they receive as they transition into new communities,” he added.

Last fiscal year, which ended in April, saw 67,588 unaccompanied minors released to the care of sponsors.

Elaine Mallon
Elaine Mallon
Breaking news reporter.

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