Child Exploitation at the Southern Border

Child Exploitation at the Southern Border


  • The Biden Administration’s open border policies are responsible for the record setting number of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) trafficked or smuggled to the U.S. southern border.
  • These vulnerable children are being exploited and abused by Mexican cartels, human traffickers, corporations, and their own families on the journey north and after the Biden Administration releases them to unvetted sponsors.
  • The America First approach to border security prioritizes deterrence measures that prevent bad actors from exploiting children and protects those arriving unaccompanied.


America is experiencing a revival of the worst parts of the Industrial Revolution in the forms of indentured servitude, modern-day slavery, and forced labor of children being trafficked and smuggled across the southern border. An overlooked aspect of the Biden Administration’s open border policies is that they enable the cartels to take advantage of vulnerable children for profit. Recent Congressional hearings, along with a startling New York Times investigation into the lives of these minors ¾ known as unaccompanied alien children (UACs) ¾ prove that this abuse is neither hypothetical nor anecdotal (Dreier, 2023). From February 2021 to present, a reported two-thirds of all UACs in the U.S. work “illegal, full time jobs, often in factories and in hazardous conditions” (House Oversight, 2023). Excerpts from the investigation reveal the terrible reality of what these children endure:

“Paco Calvo arrived in Middlebury, Vt., when he was 14 and has been working 12-hour days on dairy farms in the four years since. He said he crushed his hand in an industrial milking machine in the first months of doing this work.”

“Juanito Ferrer called for help after he was brought to Manassas, Va., at age 15 by an acquaintance who forced him to paint houses during the day and guard an apartment complex at night. His sponsor took his paychecks and watched him on security cameras as he slept on the basement floor.”

“I still have to pay back my debt, so I still have to work,” said Mauricio Ramirez, 17, who has found a meat processing job in the next town over.

Though each child has an individual story, the common denominator is their unlawful entry through our Nation’s Southern border. Ending the exploitation of UACs starts with enforcing the law at the border, which will prevent the cartels from taking advantage of them in the first place. Unfortunately, present-day border security and immigration policies follow a perverse incentive structure that emboldens the cartels and further facilitates the harm of UACs. 

Share the Post: