A new report found that the United States has lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children and it’s creating a massive humanitarian crisis in this country. Ring of Fire’s Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins discusses this.

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Mike Papantonio: A new report found that the United States has lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children. It’s creating this massive humanitarian crisis in this country. We don’t know where 1,500 kids that were brought into the United States, unaccompanied minors, supposedly given to homes to be taken care of, we don’t know where 1,500 kids are.

Farron Cousins: I mean, that’s insane. That’s the only word to describe it. This is something that you would hear about if it was over in Iraq …

Mike Papantonio: A banana republic, yeah.

Farron Cousins: You know, perhaps somewhere, anywhere the third world, you find, “Oh, they lost 1,500 kids, oh that’s so sad. Oh, let me change the channel here.” This is the United States, the federal government in charge of these children. They’re supposed to make sure we send them to family, we send them to friends, we send them to legitimate foster families. Instead, they just lost them. They sent them off, they don’t know where. Some of them we do know have gone to human traffickers and the slave trade, actually. The rest, we’re not too sure. Maybe they’re down the street, I don’t know. The government also says, “You know what? We’re not legally responsible …”

Mike Papantonio: HHS.

Farron Cousins: Yeah, to go find these kids or keep track of them. We got a lot going on.

Mike Papantonio: Let’s talk about that just a second. First of all, you’ve got an organization that’s put together just, it’s called the ORR and it has to do with placement of these kids. Okay? Now, the question becomes, how much input does the HHS have over the ORR? You got a bunch of pinhead, you know, a bunch of bureaucrats that don’t have a clue who’s taking care of what. The ORR, the very people who place these kids, supposed to place them in homes said, “Well, we lost track of 1,500 kids.” The HHS says, “Well, it’s not our responsibility. We’re not responsible for this.” The ORR says, “Well, we’re not responsible.” I mean, this is actually the argument going on with these pinhead bureaucrats right now.

Farron Cousins: It’s like a bunch of children and they’re sitting there saying, “Well, you touched them last, it’s your responsibility.” This is 20% of the migrant children who came into this country in 2017, 20% that they don’t know about. Part of the issue is that the Republicans in control, one of the first things they always do is they cut budgets. They cut departments, they fire staff because they want to shrink the government. Well, now we’ve fired people, we’ve cut the budgets so they can’t properly do their jobs. Instead of having this Office of Refugee Resettlement keeping track of them or HHS or hell, even ICE at this point, everybody says, “Not my responsibility. I rounded them up like I was supposed to. I put them on the bus.”

Mike Papantonio: They could be in the slave trade, for all we know.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: Interesting thing, sometimes I read these stories, I mean, I get these emails, “Pap, why are you smiling and laughing during the very serious story?” This is a serious story.

Farron Cousins: It is.

Mike Papantonio: I have to. Some of these stories are so ridiculous, when I look at them, my mind is thinking, “How have we gotten here?” That’s why it’s almost a laughable situation that we’ve become this third world banana republic, and nobody will admit it. This is a great example.

Farron Cousins: Exactly. It’s one of the things you never thought. I mean, five years ago if you would have gone back in time and hand me this headline I would have said, “Oh, this is from The Onion, of course, obviously.” No, this is what’s happening. It happened 2017, 1,500 kids somewhere out there in this country, maybe.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. The opioid epidemic has gotten so bad in this country that shellfish, mussels from the waterways are now testing positive for opioids, which means you might be ingesting these addictive medications without even knowing it. This story, this is where somebody set out, they had a suspicion that up around Elliott Bay, around Oregon, that area through there, that the level of opioids in the water, somebody was reporting they had taken some casual tests, so they went out and did some really spectacular testing. They actually tested, I don’t remember exactly how many sites. It was maybe 18 sites, eight or 18 sites, something. Is it eight?

Farron Cousins: 18.

Mike Papantonio: 18 sites. They came out in three of the locations that were very close to Bremerton and Elliott Bay, they came back and said that the Oxycontin levels were so high that they actually pose a danger. Now, first of all, can you imagine … What we see in the opioid in litigation is that there are pockets around the country where the manufacturers and distributors like McKesson have pumped in so many pills, knowing that … There’s areas where every man, woman, and child had access to 500 pills, man, woman, and child in areas. This is one of those areas. Now, what they would do is they would go to areas where there’s big despair, economic problems, job loss, economic issues that cause personal despair. This is one of those areas. All of a sudden, they find out, well, the level is so high they were finding oxycodone in the shellfish.

Farron Cousins: What people need to understand here is this comes from human waste. I know everything we flush, it goes to wastewater treatment facilities, but that’s to remove the bacteria and anything like that, and then it does, most of the case it either gets dumped into the environment or dumped into the waterways. When people are on opioids and there’s so many in this area that this wastewater, after being treated and dumped into Elliott Bay or nearby waterways where it goes in there, the shellfish, the mussels, probably oysters and everything else in there, they’re now all doped up on opioids.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah, and the industry is saying, “Well, we did what we were supposed to do. We gave it to the water treatment plant.” The industry knew what they were doing. The industry understands, for example, this next story. This is a great story. Pharmaceutical makers are sending so much drug-spiked water around the country, here’s what happens. Pharmaceutical company doesn’t want to pay to treat their own waste, so they give it to the taxpayers to have to treat at the public wastewater treatment. Well, here’s the problem. The wastewater treatment is not equipped to remove all of these drugs that these pharmaceutical companies put in there, and so the companies know that, and the level of things like anti-fungal drugs, anti-histamines, diabetes drugs, anti-seizure drugs are off the chart.

Farron Cousins: Muscle relaxers, blood pressure drugs, and people don’t understand, these are being found not just in the waterways, it’s in the sea life. The fish that you eat may be filled with antidepressants. You’re taking these medications and you don’t know about it. That has horrible consequences for the public.

Mike Papantonio: Of course it does. What I love about it is the industry saying, “Well, isn’t that their job, the water treatment plant?” Well, they know it’s not their job and the industry understands they’re not equipped to treat it. Let’s pass it onto taxpayers again. Let’s let taxpayers and consumers worry about our profits, that’s what’s happening here.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.