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Time to remedy unintended consequences of 2008 child trafficking law

Time to remedy unintended consequences of 2008 child trafficking law

Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 should be amended to allow expedited return of unaccompanied minors to their parents abroad.

Obama is often criticized for refusing to enforce laws. But this time he’s being criticized for enforcing the 2008 Act of Congress that requires that unaccompanied minors from countries other than Mexico and Canada be given special treatment.

However, the bill in question—the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008—dealt with a very different set of circumstances and was never envisioned as applying to what’s happening now.

As its name suggests, it was aimed at stopping human trafficking, and only a small part of the law dealt with unaccompanied minors from other countries, and even that portion was written in the context of the children being presumed human trafficking victims.

Back when the law was passed, there were no hordes of unaccompanied minors coming here from Central America in an attempt to gain entry on rumored promises of amnesty.

Obama is also very inconsistent about his enforcement. He ignores the laws he doesn’t like, or changes them, but with those that suit his purpose he falls back on the idea that he simply must obey the law. It’s his intentionally selective enforcement that’s the problem. In particular, if Obama enforced the laws on border security, Wilberforce wouldn’t have become such a problem in the first place.

Concerning Wilberforce, Charles Lane invokes the law of unintended consequences, legislative version:

So, here we are: The Wilberforce Act, logical and humane on paper, has been overthrown by an influx of Central American kids…

This isn’t anyone’s idea of sustainable immigration; at least it shouldn’t be. Some call the situation a humanitarian crisis. I prefer “national scandal.”…

Yet the key is to fix the Wilberforce Act: to permit prompt exclusion of unaccompanied Central American minors, as is already the case for Mexicans and (far less frequently) Canadians.

Sounds simple, right? Seems like everyone should get behind this, right? Wrong. That’s much too reasonable.

It will be very interesting to see whether the House manages to pass some sort of revision to Wilburforce, making the new arrivals subject to quicker deportation:

Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), the working group’s leader, will argue that child immigrants from Central America should be subject to the same rules as those from Mexico. A source close to Granger said the group will also advise that National Guard troops be sent to the border, a longstanding demand from Republicans.

It’s not even clear that the GOP would support such a bill, although it seems eminently sensible.

And even if it were to somehow be passed, it’s hard to imagine Harry Reid allowing the bill to come to a vote in the Senate. And then, if by some incredible happenstance it did get through the Senate, and such an act reached Obama’s desk for signing, he would be faced with quite a dilemma. Would he veto a bill most of America desperately wants? Or would he sign it and turn his back on the left of his party, as well as his own plans for America’s future and an entrenched Democratic majority? I know which one I’d put my money on.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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At least Obama was honest about his plans when he ran for office.

He promised (threatened ?) a ‘..fundamental transformation of America’. We’re getting it right now.

He forgot to mention some details, like his new title would be ‘Emperor’, and we would have no more southern border, by decree.

Are we sure that those consequences weren’t intended? Seems to me that the dems have been wanting serial amnesty and the republicans went along for the ride. Our current mess goes back to the ’86 amnesty and nothing has changed to fix the legal immigration system, so our politicians must want to absorb as many uneducated foreign people as they can with no regard for the rule of law or what’s best for citizens and legal immigrants.

Polling now is showing approval of Obama’s handling of immigration has dropped to 33%. The uncontrolled hordes violating the border has catapulted to the number one election issue in a matter of weeks. What is normally viewed as a local problem for the hated Texans and Arizonians is now being scattered far and wide for states and localities to pay for with crippling school costs and medical need inundation of local resources. My guess is that Republicans AND Democrats are getting an earful on their tours of home districts for re-election. Do they really view all voters as “wallets”? This may change soon.

    Ragspierre in reply to Elliott. | July 16, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Wait until “the microbe challenge” hits a school or workplace near…well, everybody.

    If you wanted to create a pan-American health crisis, you couldn’t do it more effectively.

What is the specific statutory section that requires the President not to deport the unaccompanied minors? I haven’t been able to find it. I thought I would find it in the articles on this site.

The best I’ve found is that if a minor is determined to be a victim of certain enumerated crimes AND has provided assistance in the prosecution of the criminal then the minor is to be granted certain benefits. But none of these children have been found to be victims of any particular crimes and none are providing assistance in any prosecution.

But I may be missing the section. It just seems that everyone keeps repeating the same thing without pointing to any specific provision.

    jrterrier5 in reply to jrterrier5. | July 16, 2014 at 10:53 am

    It reminds me a bit about the Benghazi video-excuse. Someone said it, it got repeated, until it became so absurd that it was challenged.

    If they assert certain claims, they cannot be deported without a ‘merit’ hearing on those claims. That gums up the system, causing delay sufficient for the State CPS systems to become involved (child, in the state, without a person legally able to make decisions about that child’s welfare), which becomes the predicate for SIJS application.

The Obama administration has been deliberately misreading the Wilberforce Act (the 2008 child trafficking law that they claim requires them to not deport UACs until after they get an asylum hearing).

By its terms, the 2008 law doesn’t even apply to illegal alien kids who already have family in the U.S. — which describes the vast majority of the kids coming over the border currently. Yet the Obama administration is pretending that the law prohibits them from deporting these kids too.

Yet again, the Obama administration deliberately ignores federal laws that don’t suit Obama’s political purposes. He’s lying and pretending that the 2008 law prevents him from deporting the majority of illegal alien kids currently flooding over our border — even though it clearly does not — because he wants to use the kids as leverage to force passage of the amnesty law he wants.

You can read more about it here:

BTW, all those lefties (and many on the right too) who keep saying that this recent invasion was precipitated by suddenly increasing gang violence in central America, and that we can’t deport these kids or else we’ll “be sending them home to certain death” are lying also.

Recent crime statistics from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala all show that violent crimes there, including murders, have been declining — not increasing — in the past few years.



HUMAN SMUGGLING — THE ILLEGAL CROSS-BORDER MOVEMENT OF CHILDREN BEING TAKEN TO THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS ALREADY IN THE UNITED STATES FOR A FEE. (Unlike human trafficking, people smuggling is characterized by the consent between customer and smuggler – a contractual agreement that typically terminates upon arrival in the destination location.

Obama’s stated objective is to ‘fundamentally change the United States’.

The administration has used Cloward-Piven tactics to ‘overwhelm the system’ and snooker unsuspecting, good-willed citizens.

The current ‘humanitarian crisis’ at the border is the direct result of administration policies to make law by executive order, allowing a path to citizenship for illegal aliens who came to the US as children.

How evil are these people to use children as pawns, risking death and disease to come to this nation, thinking that they will receive a ‘permiso’ when they turn themselves in to the Border Patrol?

The lies coming from our government officials are mind-boggling.

Why is this happening now?

Obama vowed to pass ‘COMPREHENSIVE immigration reform’ before the 2014 mid-term elections.

There is a crisis, created by this administration, designed to force some sort of immigration legislation through Congress — they are now talking about reforming the ‘2008’ law AND funding ICE with more dollars to ‘resolve’ the current crisis.

What will happen if this bill is passed through the House as an emergency measure to ‘fix’ a law that does not apply to our current crisis?

Will the Senate use the same tactics Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi used to pass Obamacare in the middle of the night?

In the case of the Obamacare legislation, the Senate gutted a bill passed in the house — KEEPING ONLY THE BILL NUMBER AND THE PASSAGE VOTE IN TACT — inserted the text of the Obamacare bill and passed that in the Senate.

Then, the joint committee ‘deemed’ the ‘compromise’ bill passed and Obama signed it into law without a compromise bill passing the Senate again.

Do you have any doubt that this administration would resort to similar tactics to pass ‘comprehensive’ immigration reform if the House passes a bill to ‘fix’ the 2008 law??????????

The Wilberforce 2008 Law applies ONLY to UAM who are being TRAFFICKED across our border, not SMUGGLED!!!

    retire05 in reply to OldNavy66. | July 16, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    OldNavy66, you are, IMHO, correct. The bill only applies to those children that have been trafficked, not smuggled, in. There is a major difference.

    But according to the left, we are to believe that a bill passed in 2008 is just now getting down to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. It took six years for word to get out. Right? Wrong.

    In January, 2012 Obama pulled the last remaining National Guard from our southern border, placed there by President Bush. Obama had tried to pull them in June, 2011, but got such push back from ICE/Border Patrol that he left them for six more months. Later in 2012, Obama unconstitutionally enacted his own Dream Act that gave what is basically amnesty to anyone who claims to have been brought here as a child (with no proof required, of course).

    The William Wilberforce act was reauthorized in 2008, to expire in 2011. In 2009, the total unaccompanied children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala totaled 3,304; 2010, 4,444; 2011, 3,933 but by September, 2012, the number had jumped to 10,146 almost 3 times the number from 2011. Are we to believe that the people in those nations, with the advent of instant news going round the world, are just now finding out about the William Wilberforce act that was signed by Bush six years ago?

    In the fiscal year of 2013, that number had increased to 20,823. Note the huge increase since the removal of the National Guard on the southern border and Obama’s Dreamer actions, This year alone, with the fiscal year not ending until September, the number from those three nations alone is 43,933 as the rumor in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala is that the Dream Act ends this year.

    This was all planned for by a dishonest administration who had been funneling money to the Baptist Family Services for the last two years, $62 million to be exact, for “immigration services for unaccompanied alien children.”

If these same childen arrived by plane at JFK would they be allowed to pass customs and allowed into the US? If not, why have they been allowed into our country at the border?

It is also time to clarify this blather being put out by the left how Obama has no choice but to follow the 2008 bill and look at reality.

The bill, originally known as The Trafficking Victims Protection Act, was passed in 2000, and signed by Bill Clinton. It was then “reauthorized” in 2005, at which time William Wilberforce’s name was added to it. Again, it was “reauthorized” in 2007 and finally in 2008. According to my reading of the bill, funding for the bill, at least, expired in 2011, three years ago.

The bill, from my layman’s POV, does not cover those children who have come here from any non-contiguous nation with a parent, or other family member, and Congressman Louie Gohmert, himself a former judge, has also said what I think is a misinterpretation of the law and that it does not apply to “accompanied” children who came with a family member.

Section 235 of the bill also states that once a year HHS is required to provide to Congress a report on the sexes, ages and nations of origin of the children that have been “repatriated” (deported) from those non-contiguous nations. I could not find any such report having been done.

I emailed Professor Jacobson and asked him to weigh in on this and provide us with his legal reading of the bill. Perhaps you can lend your voice to that request.

The problem with the state of affairs these days is that misinformation is repeated over and over again by the media but also by congresspersons, lawyers and so-called experts who should know better. I would like to read with my own eyes the provision everyone is referring to as requiring that these unaccompanied minors be allowed entry first and their status resolved second. I tried to find the provision in the federal code but was not able to find anything that remotely resembles what is being suggested.

The article in the Wash Times discusses only whether the children have family in USA but that avoids the first question whether these children are “victims” as defined in the statute.