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The flood of illegals: Misplaced blame

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Monday, July 21, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Blaming the surge in unaccompanied Central American minors illegally entering the United States on a 2008 anti-trafficking law that gave such children additional protections, the Obama White House and Democrats misapply that law, ignore sex trafficking's distinction from human smuggling and deflect attention from administration failures.

A new Center for Immigration Studies ( cis.org) report points out that the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 applies to “unaccompanied alien children,” defined by federal law as younger than 18 and without parents or legal guardians in the U.S. But government data indicate most now arriving already have family here. And rather than being coerced, as trafficking victims are, they're brought willingly by paid smugglers — a distinct difference recognized by immigration officials.

The 2008 law's requirement of immigration hearings complicates response to the children now flooding in illegally. But that law also provides leeway for “exceptional circumstances.” If this crisis isn't “exceptional” enough to waive those hearings, what would be?

The administration could also pursue the smugglers, use “Expedited Removal” authority under a 1996 law to speed deportations and end “Temporary Protected Status” that has kept about 300,000 Central Americans in the U.S. since a 1998 hurricane and a 2001 earthquake. But what's needed most are truly secure borders — and making clear that would-be illegals won't be welcomed.

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