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A Honduran mother holds her son after she turned her family in to U.S. Border Patrol agents near Rio Grande City, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Last month a top Health and Human Services Department official testified that almost 1,500 migrant children are unaccounted for after being placed with sponsors by the department.

Why it matters: This comes as the administration is heightening crack down on migrants crossing the border, including the separation of families. Reports about the unaccounted minors have also raised concerns that they could be in the hands of human traffickers or being used as laborers by people who posed as relatives.

How we got here: Acting assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families Steven Wagner, last month told the Senate homeland security subcommittee that the agency learned of 1,475 missing kids after calling to check in with their sponsors.

Who are these children: They had crossed the southern border on their own, fleeing from gang violence and other social ills. There were 4,314 unaccompanied minors who crossed the border just last month and 26,000 since October.

Who are the sponsors: They’re usually parents or family members already residing in the U.S. who should also undergo background check. DHS told the Washington Post that about 85% of sponsors who receive custody of the minors are parents or close family members.

What the administration is saying: HHS officials said it's not the agency's legal responsibility to account for the children once released from its Office of Refugee Resettlement, per the Post. They also said sponsors might have intentionally declined to respond to inquires.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Supporters of former President Trump storm the U.S. Captiol on Jan. 6. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Texas man who has been charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”

Schumer calls for IG probe into alleged plan by Trump, DOJ lawyer to oust acting AG

Jeffrey Clark speaks next to Deputy US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference in October. Photo: Yuri Gripas/AFP via Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday called for the Justice Department inspector general to investigate an alleged plan by former President Trump and a DOJ lawyer to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with someone more willing to investigate unfounded claims of election fraud.

Driving the news: The New York Times first reported Friday that the lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, allegedly devised "ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. [Jeffrey] Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark."

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