Manchin Leads Effort To Reverse Biden Rule On Migrant Children

 June 10, 2024

Sen. Joe Manchin has made a significant political shift and is now leading a controversial legislative effort.

Sen. Joe Manchin has left the Democratic Party to become an independent and is leading a group of 45 Senate Republicans in a resolution to overturn a Biden administration rule on the care of unaccompanied migrant children.

Manchin’s departure from the Democratic Party marks a notable shift in his political career. According to The Hill, Manchin is spearheading a resolution, backed by 45 Senate Republicans, to reverse a Biden administration rule concerning the care of unaccompanied migrant children. The rule, introduced by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has been criticized by Manchin for its perceived leniency in the vetting process of child sponsors.

Manchin Criticizes Biden Administration's Rule

Manchin argues that the rule allows for lax or optional vetting of sponsors, which could potentially jeopardize the safety of migrant children. According to Manchin, the rule does not mandate the consideration of a sponsor’s criminal history, including past issues such as drug abuse, abuse, or neglect, as necessarily disqualifying factors. Additionally, the rule does not require sponsors to share their immigration status with law enforcement.

Manchin also objects to what he sees as "weak standards" for postrelease home studies, which are intended to monitor the welfare of child migrants while in the custody of their sponsors. According to Manchin, these standards are insufficient to ensure the children’s safety. Furthermore, Manchin opposes restrictions on whistleblowers’ rights to disclose misconduct within the program to Congress and the HHS inspector general.

HHS officials, however, maintain that the rule has improved since the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement. They argue that it sets higher standards for the placement and release of unaccompanied children, emergency and influx operations, transportation, and monitoring requirements.

HHS Defends New Standards for Child Welfare

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra has publicly supported the rule, emphasizing the department's commitment to unaccompanied children's health, safety, and welfare. Becerra stated that the rule underscores HHS’ unwavering dedication to these children’s well-being.

By enhancing the legal framework governing the Unaccompanied Children Program, Becerra believes the rule sets clear standards for the care and treatment of unaccompanied children in the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s (ORR) custody and the support they receive as they transition into new communities.

When immigration authorities apprehend a child who enters the country without a parent or legal guardian, the child is transferred to the ORR until released to a sponsor. Sponsors are typically family members and must be deemed suitable to ensure the child’s well-being, which includes passing background checks.

Legislative Path Forward for Manchin's Resolution

Manchin intends to bring the resolution to a vote through the Congressional Review Act, a process that circumvents the possibility of a filibuster. This procedural maneuver allows Manchin to force a vote on the resolution regardless of any objections from his colleagues.

For the resolution to succeed, it must be passed by both the Senate and the House and signed by the president. The rule, announced by HHS in April, has sparked significant debate and highlighted the contentious nature of immigration policy in the United States.

In a statement, Manchin criticized the current administration’s handling of the southern border crisis and the new rule's impact on migrant children:

We have a crisis at our southern border and its human impacts are absolutely devastating. I have repeatedly called on President Biden to use his executive powers to shut it down and address the cycles of exploitation that illegal immigration empowers. Instead, the Administration is allowing rules like this one to jeopardize the safety of migrant children and trust them in the hands of unvetted sponsors.


Sen. Joe Manchin's departure from the Democratic Party and his leadership of a resolution against a Biden administration rule on unaccompanied migrant children mark significant developments in U.S. immigration policy. Manchin’s criticisms focus on the rule's perceived leniency in vetting sponsors and protecting child migrants. HHS officials defend the rule as an enhancement of child welfare standards. Given its potential to alter existing policies, the resolution's legislative journey will be closely watched. Manchin's political shift to an independent stance underscores the evolving dynamics in the Senate.

About Robert Cunningham

With years of experience at the forefront of political commentary, Robert Cunningham brings a blend of sharp wit and deep insight to his analysis of American principles at the Capitalism Institute.

Top Articles



Receive information on new articles posted, important topics and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. 
Unsubscribe at any time.

Recent Articles

Recent Analysis

Copyright © 2024 -
A Project of Connell Media.