Administration to Crack Down on Migrant Child Labor
BIT by Boundless
The Boundless mission statement is: to empower every family to navigate the immigration system more confidently, rapidly, and affordably. Read from their March 3, 2023 email blast below:
The Biden administration announced Monday it would create a task force to crack down on the exploitation of child laborers in the United States following a surge in the illegal employment of migrant children.
Since 2018, the Labor Department has seen a 70% increase in the number of children working for companies big and small across the U.S. Last year, the department found 835 companies had exploited 3,800 minors.
According to a New York Times investigation published this week, many of these children are unaccompanied migrants who after entering the U.S. were released to relatives or other sponsors while their immigration cases work through the courts.
But as record numbers of these children arrived in the country in recent years, the Biden administration has pressured shelters to release them quickly to adults, raising the risk they will be trafficked or exploited.
The Times found that migrant children, some as young as 12, are working overnight shifts and toiling in dangerous conditions across industries, including in slaughterhouses, garment factories, and milk processing plants.
The maximum civil penalty for a child labor violation is $15,138 per child, “not high enough to be a deterrent for major profitable companies,” the administration said in a press release.
“Every child in this country, regardless of their circumstance, deserves protection and care as we would expect for our own child,” said Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Everyone from employers to local law enforcement and civic leaders must do their part to protect children.”
The White House said it would strengthen followup procedures once a child is released from a shelter, including check in calls and help registering for school. The administration will also audit its vetting process for sponsors “to ensure all necessary safeguards are in place without unnecessarily keeping children in government-funded, congregate care settings.”