Between the Lines

Foreigners No More

They are coming: on trains, on buses, on foot, all the way from Central America, where they meet up with smugglers who take them across our nonexistent border.  This has been happening for decades, but there’s one big difference in the recent wave of illegal immigration: These are children, many under ten years of age—50,000 of them so far this year.  Government officials estimate that over the next year the numbers will increase to as many as 150,000.

What is going on?  We hear all kinds of excuses masquerading as explanations: poverty, violence, and political turmoil, the U.S.-sponsored drug war, and, as the Huffington Post averred, “rumors” circulating in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador that they will be allowed to stay.

They will indeed be allowed to stay, thanks to the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, signed into law by President George W. Bush.

The law was supposedly designed to prevent the sexual exploitation of children who were being impressed into prostitution by international traffickers.  It passed easily, with almost no opposition.  Yet the law has some very odd provisions: Children who travel from Mexico and Canada unaccompanied by a parent can be deported; yet children from Central America are given total immunity.  According to the law, these minors have to be given their day in court,...

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