The U.S. government agreed to a contract in February that would allow unaccompanied alien children to be transported from Office of Refugee Resettlement shelters to sponsors in America, but leaves out necessary components regarding the childrens’ welfare.

An article from the Center for Immigration Studies detailed the contract and stated that over the course of 12 months, $404 million of taxpayers’ money would fund this deal.

According to CIS Resident Fellow in Law and Policy Andrew Arthur, this contract fails to provide thorough instructions on how the sponsors taking the children would be correctly identified or how the escorts could assess the safety of the situation the children are placed in. 

“That’s a big deal, given the likelihood that this was the last contact many of those children would have with the U.S. government,” wrote Arthur.

In 2023, it was reported that the Biden administration lost track of 85,000 illegal alien children.

Other issues in the contract include omissions of rules put in place by the Office of Refugee Resettlement Unaccompanied Children Program Policy Guide.

Section 2.8.2 of the policy guide states that the escort must check “the sponsor’s identification upon arrival by comparing it to the identification previously submitted by the sponsor.” However, according to Arthur, the contract does not mention this requirement.

Arthur also wrote that although the policy guide says that if the escort “has concerns regarding the safety of the situation upon meeting the sponsor, the care provider escort will return with the child to the care provider facility.” However, the contract does not say how to discern whether a situation is safe or not.

“The escort is being asked to deliver a vulnerable human being,” Arthur added. “Should the escort err on the side of caution and risk the wrath of the sponsor and potentially ORR, or should nothing short of a burning residence or the presence of unchained alligators trigger return? No idea.”

“And I have no doubt that the sponsors of the UAC amendment to the HSA and the authors of section 235 of TVPRA had good intentions and the best interests of migrant children at heart. Those provisions, however, create a massive loophole that encourages parents and guardians to pay criminals to bring vulnerable kids to the United States. Respectfully, as a taxpayer, I want no part of that conspiracy, but I have no choice,” Arthur concluded.

To read the full contract, click here.

Amelia McKenzie

Amelia is a senior at Liberty University in Virginia. She is studying Digital Journalism and is currently a fellow with Texas Scorecard.