No 'border fix' should be necessary
It's not surprising to see this sad little spectacle, as Democrats scramble to block any fixes to the law they claimed, just days ago, was tantamount to the hellish George Bush tying Barack Obama's hands and preventing him from halting the human tide washing over the border. As Mickey Kaus pointed out, this is all complete and utter vindication for critics of the "Gang of Eight" deal, and all similar "comprehensive immigration reform" plans that traded amnesty today for border security tomorrow:
The reaction to the border chaos in Texas has accomplished one thing: It has exploded the lie at the heart of current “comprehensive” immigration reform plans. The basic structure of those plans is a swap of a) near-immediate legalization for b) increased border security in the future. The appealing idea is to let current illegals stay while taking the steps necessary to prevent further waves. The lie is the assumption that, once current illegals get their legalization, pro-immigrant activists in both parties will continue to support the second half of the bargain, the increased security.
The chaos in Texas shows they won’t. Faced with a clear hole in the border — with a wave of tens of thousands of undocumented Central Americans crossing into the U.S. in order to get in line for hearings years from now, which they likely won’t attend while they continue to live here – pro-reform activists have scrambled, not to show their border security bona fides, but to generate arguments and outbursts designed to let the new wave stay.
The punch line is that no "fix" for the 2008 law is necessary, because the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act doesn't say what Obama and the Democrats (and their media pals) claim it says. It does not at all tie the government's hands or oblige America to shelter underage border violators for years, while sham "deportation proceedings" or "asylum hearings" grind on. (It's funny how the bureaucratic quagmires in question were universally described as "deportation proceedings" during the first few weeks of this crisis, isn't it? But not any more.)
National Review cites a Center for Immigration Studies report on the Wilberforce Act, and it's pretty straightforward. This is not some tortured exercise in loophole detection - something Obama is, of course, quite game for, when he wants to get around a law he doesn't like, even if it's a law he personally signed. But the Wilberforce Act was specifically targeted against human trafficking, as its name implies, and it set out some conditions for asylum which Obama and his flacks are very careful to avoid mentioning:
In order for a minor to receive this designation, the illegal alien must be younger than age 18 and be without “a parent or legal guardian in the United States.” The report says around 90 percent of non-Mexican and non-Canadian children arriving in America are placed with family or guardians in the U.S.
The report also explains that the immigrant children are not victims of human trafficking because of a lack of coercion. The CIS report says families and their children are often willing participants in smuggling operations, and note that family members pay fees to smugglers who bring the children to the U.S. CIS notes that “human trafficking” and “human smuggling” are distinct criminal activities that provide important insight about how the children should be processed.
In a nation that demanded proper respect for both the rule of law and the duties of government, that would be the end of the "Bush tied our hands" talking point. This law simply is not applicable to what we're seeing now. If the American people make an informed decision to welcome the tide of Unaccompanied Alien Children, that is their prerogative, but we are not legally compelled to do so, even if Democrats block Congress from amending this six-year-old law. The notion that we somehow goofed and ceded control of our borders to Guatemala and Honduras in 2008 is utterly ridiculous.