In a recent article by the New York Times, an immigration law has just been recently passed to curb child trafficking. One of the last things that George W. Bush did as president was sign one final piece of legislation. “This is a piece of legislation we’re very proud to sign” White House spokesman, Tony Fratto, told to reporters on December 23, 2008 as the president signed the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008. This program was named after the 19th century British abolitionist and the program will be very effective around the world in trying to stop trafficking.
The legislation following through into the Obama administration, might be the reason for the recent flow of unaccompanied minors at the nation’s southern border. It was recently pushed by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers as well as by evangelical groups to combat sex trafficking. This bill gave great new protections to children entering the country unattended who were not from Mexico or Canada by not allowing them to be quickly sent back to their home country. Instead of the sending these children back to their countries of origin, they would be given the opportunity to appear in an immigration hearing and have the ability to consult with an advocate and have access to a counsel. In addition, it is also required of them to be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services and the agency was directed to place the minor in “the least restrictive setting that is in the best interest of the child.” The Obama administration explains they were to blame for the influx of children and they want to seek flexibility in the laws requirements when it comes to asking congress about providing emergency funds to deal with the latest immigrations crisis. However, democrats have shown reluctance to accept and support narrow immigration law changes. At the end of the day, according to Wendy Young the president of Kids in Need of Defense, she believe that there is no recognition that these kids are vulnerable moving across international borders alone. It will be interesting to see if the current administration can find a fix to this issue of child migration.
This blog post was written about this New York Times article.