The New York Times said in an article published Saturday that the majority of migrant children age 12 and up who cross the border illegally without a parent are now working “brutal” jobs, often under the table and in violation of child labor laws.
The Times expose claimed that caseworkers lost touch with at least 85,000 of the hundreds of thousands of migrant children that were allowed to stay in the country with a sponsor, 130,000 just last year, and that interviews with 60 caseworkers revealed most of the children as young as 12 were working long hours at factory or restaurant jobs in addition to going to school.
Migrant children are routinely expected to work to pay their sponsors for bringing them into the U.S., and some are also sending money back to their families in their country of origin.
The article said that some are working in factories for companies like General Mills and Whole Foods, as roofers or construction workers, and as dishwashers in restaurants.
Biden admin to blame
Some were found to be working 12 to 14-hour shifts on top of going to school. Some were never enrolled in school, although it is required, the Times claimed.
One sponsor told the Times that it was commonplace for children to work in Guatemala, and that she had worked from second grade on. She suggested that her sponsee work nights after going to school, since the girl wanted to send money back to her grandmother.
The Times laid much of the blame for this situation on the Biden administration, which it said was pressuring staffers to rush the children out of shelters and not properly vetting their sponsors in their haste.
Companies claim ignorance
How are these major corporations getting away with employing children? The Times found that staffing agencies that conduct hiring for production and distribution companies such as Hearthside Food Solutions are failing to verify the ages or identities of their workers, some of whom obtain false identification to work.
Hearthside and General Mills both said they were looking into the claims made by the times, and Hearthside said it would be implementing controls to prevent underage workers from working there in the future.
The companies acted like they didn’t know what was happening with child labor, but three workers for Hearthside told the Times that supervisors were told about what was happening. “Hearthside didn’t care,” former worker Nubia Malacara, who had been a minor at the time, said.
One Language Arts teacher in Miami said her entire 8th grade English learner class was working after school, often for long hours while trying to learn English. “They should not be working 12-hour days, but it’s happening here,” Valeria Lindsay said.
The Biden administration wants everyone to think it is compassionate for letting these migrant children into the country illegally, but what kind of life is it to be 12 or a teenager and working as much as most adults while going to school?
These companies are taking advantage of children and violating child labor laws, and they are getting away with it because up the chain, nobody wants to admit what’s happening since it would make Biden look bad.
Good for the Times for doing some actual journalism for once.