The human trafficking bill currently under consideration in the Senate contains a provision that would exempt individuals convicted of trafficking crimes from new $5,000 penalty if they facilitate the illegal immigration of a family member into the U.S.
The provision in question appears on page 48 of the bill. It imposes a special assessment, or fine, of $5,000 on people convicted of offenses such as sex crimes, human trafficking, and alien smuggling offenses.
The fine applies to smugglers of undocumented immigrants “unless the person induced, assisted, abetted, or aided only an individual who at the time of such action was the alien’s spouse, parent, son, or daughter (and no other individual) to enter the United States in violation of law.”
For example, the individuals who induced a smuggler to bring a family member illegally to the U.S. would not be fined nor would individuals who illegally transport unauthorized aliens to who they are immediately related to the U.S.
The new $5,000 fine is intended to go a domestic trafficking victims’ fund.
The bill comes as reports indicate that the border is preparing for another surge of illegal immigration. A senior GOP aide noted that the loophole is especially striking because a lot of human smuggling is spurred by family members.
“One of the largest sources of human smuggling is the smuggling of illegal immigrants arranged or carried out by relatives,” the aide noted. “Yet the smuggling bill contains an exemption for precisely this kind of smuggling – even as a massive border surge, spurred on by the President’s executive actions, is getting underway.”
The same aide pointed out an apparent double standard in the treatment of crimes between U.S. citizens and people trying to illegally immigrate to the U.S.
“If U.S. citizens subjected their own children or spouses to the same perils – or much less – there would be no similar exemption. This exemption also deprives funds for the victims of human trafficking.”
Thursday Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) introduced an amendment, exclusively provided to Breitbart News, to the bill to strike the exclusion language.
“Beginning on page 48, line 21, strike ‘human smuggling)’ and all that follows through page 49, line 2 and insert ‘human smuggling),’” the short amendment reads.
The amendment comes as Democrats are already protesting the legislation — sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) — because of their opposition to abortion funding restrictions in the bill. Sessions’ amendments is also one of several related to immigration that Republican lawmakers are seeking to attach to the “ Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.”
Also this week Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) introduced an amendment to stop birth right citizenship and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) introduced an amendment that would change the William Wilberforce Trafficking Act of 2008 to allow the quick removal of unaccompanied illegal immigrant minors from non-contiguous countries by processing them in the same manner as those from Mexico and Canada.
Cornyn’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.