California foster parents urged to take 26 or more migrant children, activists say it's 'human trafficking'

Several foster parents got phone calls and emails from the administration seeking cooperation to handle the growing humanitarian crisis at the Mexico border, Daily Mail has reported

                            California foster parents urged to take 26 or more migrant children, activists say it's 'human trafficking'
President Joe Biden and a child at the US-Mexico border (Getty Images)

The Joe Biden administration’s challenges at the US-Mexico border are increasing each passing day and now, it has been revealed that foster parents in California have been requested by the administration to take care of 26 or more unaccompanied migrant children per household. The desperation is showing but the solution is still not in sight. 

The Daily Mail has come up with an exclusive report on Wednesday, March 24, saying Travis and Sharla Kall, one of the many foster parents in the state, received a phone call on March 12 in which the Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) wanted to know how many beds the couple had to serve additional youth. “This is an emergency message, please respond to this urgent message from the Community Care Licensing Division,” the voicemail which has been obtained by said. “CCLD would like to know how many available beds you have to serve additional youth,” it added. The CCLD is a division of the Golden State’s social services department (California Department of Social Services of CDSS) that looks after foster home and care licensing. The duo also got an email mentioning the same urgency and it contained links for them to confirm how many beds were available with them -- ranging from zero to over 26. 


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That was far too high. Travis told the Mail that the maximum number of children one is generally allowed to foster at a given point of time is six. The man is fostering infant twins of four months at the moment with his wife, besides taking care of their own twins, aged six. “We called our case worker and she told us that everyone was calling her because they had got that same call,” Travis, who works as a small automotive business owner in Orange, California.

A Honduran mother sits with her one-month-old son and others who are seeking asylum in the United States outside the El Chaparral border crossing on February 19, 2021 in Tijuana, Mexico. (Getty Images)


The couple subsequently spoke to a friend who also fosters children through a different agency and the latter said she too got the same call. The friend also told Travis and Sharla that her agency confirmed through email that the children were coming from the border. 

The email addressed to families was from the director of Foster and Adoptions and started by saying: “As many of you are already aware, CCLD has been sending automated emails and phone calls asking you about available beds to serve additional youth.”

“They are trying to address the needs of a record number of unaccompanied children who are arriving from Central America who are escaping impossible situations such as poverty, violence and natural disasters,” it added. 

The Kalls, who run a non-profit fighting human trafficking, were shocked to see such a request reaching them. Sharla told the Mail that at any time, there are more than 30,000 children in the LA County foster care system alone and in such a situation, asking the certified foster parents to accommodate children from another country when the US is struggling to manage its own foster crisis “doesn’t seem beneficial to either side because either way someone loses a bed”.

'I consider it human trafficking'

Travis was apprehensive about the growing crisis. He feels this is just the beginning of a massive problem. “I consider it human trafficking. It’s not the burden of taking kids in because we have the heart for it, but these are kids that were taken from the border for a money scheme and now they’re going to use us resource parents to take care of them,” Travis said. 

Children play as people who are seeking asylum in the United States are gathered outside the El Chaparral border crossing on February 19, 2021 in Tijuana, Mexico. (Getty Images)


It has been reported as more and more immigrants hit the US border seeking an entry, smugglers and human traffickers at the border are having a field day. “The cartels have realized that under Biden there is serious money to be made from people trafficking without any of the distribution issues you face with narcotics,” the Mail quoted a source as saying. “People are the new dope.”
The Biden administration, which vowed to adopt a humanitarian approach towards the immigrants after Donald Trump’s hardline policy, is now bracing for a two-decade high in numbers of migrants thronging the southern border after it took a liberal stance. Among them are thousands of minors who are now being sheltered in government-run facilities that critics have called inhumane. The American officials have found themselves under immense challenge to find a solution for the humanitarian crisis and the situation has seen even President Joe Biden urging the migrants not to travel to the US border. His administration has also delivered vaccine doses to Mexico -- a move which many see as an incentive for the southern neighbor to stem the inflow of the migrants from crisis-hit Central American countries. Earlier this week, a Texas lawmaker also released first pictures of the child detention camps and as of March 21, the US Customs and Border Patrol were having more than 15,500 unaccompanied children in custody, as per the US media.

State puts ball in federal administration court

When the Mail reached out to the CDSS over the foster parents being asked to accommodate many of these unaccompanied children, it said: “In the case of unaccompanied minor children who cross the border, responsibility for their care falls under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Should any unaccompanied minors in this situation be placed by the federal government in licensed children’s residential facilities or homes in California, our role at CDSS is to ensure licensed facilities meet California's health and safety standards.”
It added: “In response to a request from HHS for an expedited effort to determine which licensed facilities may be willing to assist, CDSS sent out a survey to licensed homes.” The state was clearly putting the ball in the court of the federal administration. 

US officials have quickly set up new sites to accommodate teenagers and children crossing the US-Mexico border in a bid to clear the Border Patrol’s packed facilities that are holding thousands of youth, many of whom are in their late teens. The Biden administration has decided against expelling the migrant kids who are unaccompanied and this has made the challenge of dealing with the surging immigrants even difficult. Gloria Chavez, CBP chief of the El Paso sector said illegal crossings by unaccompanied minors saw a staggering 96 percent rise in the sector in January and February compared to the corresponding months last year.