HHS deputy secretary Eric Hargan had an appropriately harsh statement yesterday about this misleading meme:
The assertion that unaccompanied alien children (UAC) are “lost” is completely false. This is a classic example of the adage “No good deed goes unpunished.” The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, began voluntarily making calls in 2016 as a 30-day follow-up on the release of UAC to make sure that UAC and their sponsors did not require additional services. This additional step, which is not required and was not done previously, is now being used to confuse and spread misinformation.
These children are not “lost”; their sponsors — who are usually parents or family members and in all cases have been vetted for criminality and ability to provide for them — simply did not respond or could not be reached when this voluntary call was made. While there are many possible reasons for this, in many cases sponsors cannot be reached because they themselves are illegal aliens and do not want to be reached by federal authorities. This is the core of this issue: In many cases, HHS has been put in the position of placing illegal aliens with the individuals who helped arrange for them to enter the country illegally. This makes the immediate crisis worse and creates a perverse incentive for further violation of federal immigration law.
Even the New York Times is not on board this one. This is the beginning of their fact check:
Did the Trump administration separate nearly 1,500 immigrant children from their parents at the border, and then lose track of them?