The Biden administration has announced a wide crackdown on the labor exploitation of migrant children in the United States. The Department of Labor will conduct more aggressive investigations of companies benefiting from the work of migrant children and focus on geographical areas where violations of child labor laws are likely to occur. Additionally, the administration will explore using a “hot goods” provision of law that allows it to stop the interstate transport of goods where child labor has been found in the supply chain and has asked Congress to increase penalties for violators.
The New York Times found that migrant children who have crossed the southern border alone are ending up in punishing jobs that violate child labor laws. Many of these children are from Central America, where economic conditions have deteriorated since the pandemic. The children are working hazardous jobs in every state and across industries, making products for major brands and retailers, including J. Crew, Walmart, Target, Ben & Jerry’s, Fruit of the Loom, Ford, and General Motors.
In just the past two years, more than 250,000 children have come into the country alone. Many are under pressure to send money back to their parents and pay smuggling fees and living expenses to their sponsors. The exploitation of children in the workplace is illegal, inhumane, and unacceptable, and the Biden administration’s move to crack down on this practice is a welcome step.
By supporting these efforts, we can work towards a more just and equitable society that values the safety and well-being of all its members, including the most vulnerable among us.
(This post was written with the assistance of ChatGPT as a summary of the linked NYT article, grammar-checked using Grammarly, and edited for clarity and accuracy by an actual human. The featured image was created in Midjourney using the prompt, “Child labor, watercolor illustration”)