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We Must Do Better to Protect Migrant Children

WASHINGTON D.C. — An investigative piece published in The New York Times shows how unaccompanied migrant children who have crossed the border are becoming part of “a new economy of exploitation.”

This afternoon the departments of Labor and Health and Human Services announced new measures to counter child labor, including expanding services for unaccompanied migrant children after their release.

“The exploitation of children is inexcusable and a cruel departure from our values,” said Jennie Murray, President and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. “Although federal agencies need to move people through the system quickly, they must get it right, first and foremost by respecting human dignity. Protecting children is too important to cut corners.

“Congress can help too. It must hold the administration accountable and fund agencies to better screen sponsors and act in children’s best interest.

“It’s good to see the administration’s immediate response. That has to be just the beginning. The Biden administration, Congress and states should work together toward immediate and longer-term solutions that keep kids safe and honor our values.”

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