Burgess in the News

GOP Rep. Pushes Bill to End Democrats’ ‘Cruel’ Use of Migrant Teen Workers

By: Neil Munro | Breitbart News

GOP Texas Rep. Michael Burgess has drafted a bill to help his fellow GOP legislators vote against President Joe Biden’s shocking transfer of indebted foreign teenagers into low-wage jobs throughout the United States. “Our immigration system … has become astonishingly cruel because of the open-border policies of the Biden administration,” Burgess told Breitbart News, adding: One of the things that really spurred me to get the bill reintroduced in this Congress was the article in the New York Times about the exploitation — child labor exploitation — that was going on in plain sight.

The New York Times‘ well-researched report showed many young workers who were trafficked into U.S. factories via the “Unaccompanied Alien Child” (UAC) loophole that was created by Congress in 2008.

Since January 2021, Biden’s deputies have allowed roughly 320,000 UACs into the United States, mixed with the huge inflow of roughly 4.2 million migrants.  The New York Times reported on February 25: Cristian works a construction job instead of going to school. He is 14 … Carolina packages Cheerios at night in a factory. She is 15 … Wander starts looking for day-labor jobs before sunrise. He is 13,” are the newspaper’s captions of photographs showing young teenagers admitted via the “Unaccompanied Alien Child” border loophole.

Democrats are emotionally denouncing the teenagers’ hiring for factory work — but are also trying to protect and hide the teenage inflow by portraying their party as the savior of helpless children from ruthless, GOP-backed businesses. “It’s hard to completely convey how personally I take this as someone who has made it my life’s goal to make our country more just and fair for the most vulnerable, the least among us,” Rep. Hillary Scholten (D-MI), told Vice.com on March 22.

However, Scholten, an immigration lawyer, also admitted that she already knew — like many other people and organizations — about the trafficked teenage workforce:

Vice: I do wonder if you were surprised, really, when you read the details [in the New York Times] or did it feel shocking but familiar at the same time?

Scholten: That’s literally what I was about to say too! Shocking in the sense [because of] the scope and the proximity, but also entirely unsurprising, especially as an attorney who has worked on these issues her entire career.

Burgess’ draft bill is titled “Protecting an Alien child’s Reasonable Expectation of No Trafficking Act” or the PARENT Act. His modest bill would not close the 2008 loophole that requires agencies to accept and house child and teen migrants under the age of 18. It would only require federal agencies to not release the children and youths to U.S.-based labor traffickers, but only to only verified parents or legal guardians living in the United States.

Burgess told Breitbart News that federal officials often release teenagers to unverified “sponsors”:

The Houston police chief came to the [federal] Office of Refugee Resettlement and said “You sent 60 kids to the same address and no one lives there. I mean, what do you think is happening there? … There are 60 kids that you’ve sent to that [claimed] ‘uncle’ and ‘aunt’ and no one lives there.”

Biden’s deputies accelerated the transfer of teenagers to unverified sponsors:

“They’re just pushing people through, and they don’t care where they end up,” said Burgess, adding “We in the House, we need to be doing the proper oversight and investigation into what the heck happened and where those kids ended up.”

It’s an economic migration. I went down to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador in 2018 to see this for myself, and that’s what I was told at the embassy in Honduras. I said “Where does a poor family get $8,000 to send their child?” and they said, they simply go to the bank and borrow it? And I said, “You mean like a payday lender?” and they said, “No, they just go to the bank.” And so the child essentially becomes an indentured servant. There are payments that are going to have to be made and if they’re not, the family members who remain behind in the source country can be put under a good deal of stress to ensure payments are being made.

Burgess’ description matches the data provided by a March 2023 survey by a European Union-funded pro-migration group, Plan International. The survey is titled  “Adolescent Girls in Crisis: Experiences of Migration in Central America and Mexico,” and it shows that jobs are 60 percent of the reported reasons why female adolescents migrate from their homes.

Democrats are eager to patronize the migrants by pretending they are helpless victims. Scholten, for example.  said she felt the migrants were like “her kids [forced to work] on that factory floor.”

“This won’t stand in West Michigan. Protecting these kids is my number one priority—I won’t rest until this crisis is resolved,” she tweeted.

That choice allows the Democrats to blame the GOP while ignoring the poor migrants’ rational use of Democrat-defended loopholes to get factory jobs in the United States.

“Most of them are 17 to 25-year-olds — they claim to be under 18” to get through the loophole, Burgess told Breitbart, adding that mortgage lenders in Central America make money from the migration:

The report also includes comments from several girls. “No, in my case, it’s not violence. What made us leave is the possibility of accessing better employment opportunities for my mom because she is the only one that works,” said an adolescent girl from Nicaragua, “We see no opportunities in our country,” said a girl from El Salvador, whose economic development has been stunted by the departure of many young people to low-wage work in the United States.

The report also notes part of the price that girls pay to reach the welcome dangled by Scholten, many Democrats, and U.S. employers. One girl reported her experience moving through the deadly Darien Gap trail that was created in Panama by Biden’s deputies:

The Darien is like hell. Five days walking in the jungle with mud up to our backs, insects biting us all the time, without food and very afraid. We always knew about the rapes, but fortunately, that didn’t happen to us. We know they raped the ones who are ahead of us, but not us.

Since 2008, the UAC loophole is also used by families to split their migration into the United States. Usually, the father separates himself from his family because he knows that he will be caught and released at the U.S. border to get a job. The job generates the wages that allow him to pay off his smuggling debt, and eventually pay the coyotes to deliver his children to the U.S. border. The federal government then relays the children to their illegal migrant parents in Chicago, New York, or another city. This government-run child-smuggling network has helped many foreign families move into U.S. homes, workplaces, and schools.

The Biden administration does not want to stop the teenage inflow, Burgess said, adding “they’re interested in enhancing it.”

For example, Scholten and many other Democrats are trying to protect the UAC loopholes by shifting to their strategic goal of passing a “comprehensive immigration reform” bill.

Rep. Pramilla Jayapal (D-WA) is the top-ranked Democrat on the immigration panel of the House judiciary committee. The Indian-born migration advocate used a May 20 media event in Brownsville, Texas, to slam the Republicans, to praise migrants — and hide Biden’s important teenage workforce:

We know that some of our challenges stem from our colleagues on the other side continually obstructing the passage of humane immigration reform — something that I know I have worked on for about 20 years of my life — that provides legal pathways for immigrants who are fleeing horrific circumstances in their own countries, for immigrants who want to be reunited with their families, or for our own economy, which if we are honest, we should say depends on the labor and the contributions of immigrant workers.

Regardless of the UAC problem, many Democrats are eager to put migrants ahead of American families. On March 16, for example, Rep. Sean Casten (D-Il) held a public meeting where he argued that inflation could be trimmed by importing low-wage migrants to do the jobs held by better-paid Americans, according to the Chicago Tribune:

“We put a lot of [government] money into the economy, creating a ton of American jobs,” he said, “...We went from a buyer’s market for labor to a seller’s market,” Casten said, saying that’s why many employers are seeking [more] job applicants despite boosting wages for positions, which has exerted upward pressure on wage inflation. “The way we solve that [wage inflation] problem is to fix our immigration system,” he said. “We are welcoming far fewer people to our country legally.”

Migration “depresses wages,” Burgess told Breitbart, adding that Republicans “don’t want to talk about anything as far as any immigration reform until they see the tangible evidence that the border is indeed secure.” He continued: That’s the tough part because, of course, the Democrats come back to say … “It’s a comprehensive solution, you’re going to have to have agricultural workers, and you’re going to have to have work visas, and H-2B visas, and that’s what’s going to solve the problem.”

But, unfortunately, we know that if you do all of that without securing the border, you’ll only  inflamed the situation. You haven’t solved anything.

Still, Burgess is trying to pass his bill to curb Biden’s growing teenage workforce. He said:

Are we as a country, are we as a Congress, okay with enticing children into our country and putting them into that risky [workplace] position? I would say the average man living on the street, and Congress, would say, “No, that’s not the intention — it is to take care of someone who’s fleeing a repressive regime somewhere so we’re providing asylum.” But this is not asylum. This is economic migration — and it’s being exploited.

So far, Burgess has four GOP co-sponsors: Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-TX), Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX), and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX).