(Texas  Scorecard) – A new report shows that unaccompanied illegal alien children were being sent to live in unsafe environments under the Biden administration.

A report from The Wall Street Journal revealed documents and interviews showing the federal government was repeatedly ignoring and overriding the concerns of lower-level workers who warned them about placing children in households with criminal records.

At one holding facility near Los Angeles, California, more than 100 children were sent to live with temporary guardians previously issued denials by case coordinators. Nearly two dozen more denials were overturned by clerical errors or issues including missing fingerprints that were later resolved. However, many others were approved, with some of the home addresses tied to people with histories of criminal activity. Despite this knowledge, it cannot be determined what happened to the children after they left the facility.

The findings from internal records and interviews show that the Biden administration overlooked the concerns about some guardians to avoid the political crisis over a historical surge of illegal aliens crossing the border every day. Officials also confessed at the time that they wanted to avoid images of “children in cages” caused by minors being held in overcrowded detention centers.

The Wall Street Journal contacted the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding the situation. The officials explained that early on in the Biden administration, they were not adequately prepared to manage the surge in unaccompanied children. The department responded to their findings saying that guardians go through layers of review and “Child welfare best practices are clear that children belong with family and not in shelters.”

With more than 18,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border each month in 2021, the department set up 14 shelters around the country to deal with the influx and even recruited government employees from different federal agencies to work in them. The Biden administration admitted that the employees were not trained in child welfare but maintained that many factors go into where to send the children.

An internal investigation by the inspector general for HHS found gaps in the screening process for temporary guardians. The findings revealed that in February 2021, 16 percent of records for children released to temporary guardians in March and April 2021 “lacked any documentation indicating that the checks were conducted.”

According to two employees who worked with children, the shelters for unaccompanied children were put under immense pressure for caseworkers to discharge the minors within 10 to 14 days of being there.

As the demand to release illegal alien children intensified, caseworkers were warned that adoption attempts by some guardians might indicate children were at risk of labor trafficking, as some guardians tried to take on at least six children at one time.

In one instance, caseworkers discovered a document showing different guardians living at several addresses in one city with ties to the same person. The revelations implied one guardian was recruiting children for labor.

In a separate instance, a caseworker had called a guardian in Michigan after discovering the address was an empty field. The caseworker called the number for the guardian, which someone answered. The worker claimed they heard a cry for help in the background before the call disconnected.

In other instances, officials were unaware of guardians’ criminal histories before releasing minors into their care.

For example, a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy was scheduled to live with a man claiming to be his uncle in South Texas, and another man living at the residence was charged with a felony three months earlier for assaulting his girlfriend.

Records show that a case worker originally denied his uncle’s request, but it was overridden two days later and the boy was discharged to the man. Government records revealed he was unrelated to the boy.

HHS officials told The Wall Street Journal that they weigh each temporary guardian individually.

“We’re in a completely different place than we were when we started,” one senior HHS official said. “We were stuck with what we had when we started on day one which unfortunately did not set us up to be able to meet the challenges that we faced in 2021.”

According to HHS, from when Biden first assumed office through September 30, 2023, the department has placed 340,000 children with vetted guardians. Most of the remaining children are in long-term care or have left the program when they turned 18.

Selene Rodriguez, campaign director for Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Secure and Sovereign Texas campaign, told Texas Scorecard, “Under the Biden administration, it is easier than ever to illegally cross into the United States and be granted the opportunity to stay, free of consequence. Specifically, children and people who exploit children by posing as a fake family are more quickly granted release.”

“All this does is incentivize child trafficking by exploiting minors for the sake of getting more people into the U.S. This then overloads the system by adding too many minors into the care of Health and Human Services. By overloading the system, it makes it easier for details to get overlooked and children to be put into the care of people who may pose a threat to their health and safety. And too often, these children end up being trafficked in our own country,” continued Rodriguez. “Under Operation Lone Star, the state has rescued over 1,000 children from human smuggling attempts, and Texas continues to be the only state attempting to combat this crisis at the border. So long as our leadership in Washington not only allows illegal immigration, but encourages it, more children will end up in dangerous situations in the United States, and all of it is preventable.”