The courage of Tara Lee Rodas to step forward and expose the truth about a federal government agency’s role in the shocking treatment of thousands and thousands of unaccompanied children entering the U.S. at the southern border was the action of a warrior. The stories she recounted of the tragedies, and the trafficking and abuse of the children during her Congressional testimony in April 2023 were insurmountable to suppress by the culpable agency, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), and its Unaccompanied Children (UC) Program. The world took notice when she said, “Whether intentional or not, it can be argued that the US Government has become the middleman in a large-scale, multi-billion-dollar, child trafficking operation run by bad actors seeking to profit off the lives of children.”
Her goal in testifying before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement then, and her continued advocacy today as an HHS whistleblower, is “to inspire action to safeguard the lives of migrant children, including the staggering 85,000 that are missing.”
Tara is still asking, where are the children and where the accountability is. But now, she is joined by three other whistleblowers asking the same questions and more with united voices and strength. Together, these four individuals, connected by their work experiences at the Pomona Fairplex Emergency Intake Site in California, as either government employees or federal contractors’ employees in 2021, reveal more truth and facts about the dysfunctional HHS program in an America’s Future exposé special entitled, “Where Did The Children Go.”
Featured along with Tara in the special, are the other whistleblowers: Mayra Moreno, former case manager for a federal contractor, Maxim Healthcare Services; Deborah White, a federal government contract specialist, deployed to the Pomona facility at the same time as Tara, and Carlos Arellano, a former unaccompanied minor transportation specialist for MVM, Inc. and later, for other government contractors operating the government’s release of thousands of migrants housed at the Row NYC in downtown Manhattan.
Viewers will hear new evidence showing that the U.S. government knowingly put children into the hands of unknown and unvetted sponsors and traffickers, how the federal government turned a blind eye to the waste of taxpayer dollars by their select NGO contractors, and how “shame tactics” and threats were used by both government officials and federal contractors to suppress staff from sharing information.
From their first-hand accounts, the four brave whistleblowers describe the conditions of a failed government agency that put innocent lives in harm’s way. Among the shocking disclosures include:
- How a Gentlemen’s Club was used as a drop-off site for migrant children;
- How traffickers infiltrated the child in-take center and, once known, were simply released into the U.S. without arrest or any other punishment;
- How the U.S. government knowingly released children to unknown and unvetted “sponsors,” including children being “handed off to the wrong people” at destinations in lieu of returning the children to the in-take shelters from which they originated.
- How the U.S. government denied repeated requests for accountability review of sole-source multimillion-dollar NGO contracts that fuel the continuation of child abuse and trafficking.
“It’s stunning. It’s horrifying,” said Tara in one segment. “And the government knows…they knew they had a trafficking problem. They knew. And so, where are these children? Where are these children?”
In the special, viewers will also hear from Whistleblower Deborah White, who has worked as a federal contract specialist for 10 years. “We cannot continue to fund a program that has failed over and over again, year after year…to date, they have not answered, the contractors have not answered, and the government has not answered why these sole source contracts are necessary. Why would we pay a contractor if they’re not fulfilling the requirements of the contract?”
The whistleblowers are calling on others to step forward to protect the children and for Congress to take action immediately. Speaking for the four brave individuals, viewers will hear their collective plea in Tara’s words: “That’s what we all want to see. Accountability and transparency for the children and for the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars that are funding child trafficking.”
The special was produced in coordination with TriFilm Pictures Production, and presented by America’s Future as part of its Project Defend & Protect Our Children initiative established to raise awareness and educate grassroots Americans to get involved in helping end child exploitation and trafficking. Tara is a member of the initiative’s Advisory Board.
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