The Obama Administration is under suspicion for allegedly helping to smuggle children of illegal immigrants across the United States border. Fox News reports that Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) wrote a letter to new Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson questioning the policy.
I am shocked to learn that the federal government is a participant in an international human smuggling conspiracy. I cannot imagine a case in which such a policy would be in accordance with the established mission of the Department, particularly since this encourages additional smuggling and the sometimes extreme abuse of the smuggled children involved.
Last month, a federal judge in Texas, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen, stated that immigration agents were catching smugglers trying to bring children of illegal immigrants across the U.S.-Mexico border, and then the immigration agents were delivering the children to their parents. Hanen said the actions of the agents aided human traffickers and the drug cartels.
These actions are both dangerous and unconscionable. … The DHS has simply chosen not to enforce the United States’ border security laws. … Time and again this court has been told by representatives of the government and the defense that cartels control the entire smuggling process. … The government is not only allowing [illegal immigrants in the U.S.] to fund the illegal and evil activities of these cartels, but is also inspiring them to do so. … To put this in another context, the DHS policy is as logical as taking illegal drugs or weapons that it has seized from smugglers and delivering them to the criminals who initially solicited their illegal importation/exportation. Legally, this situation is no different.
Vitter also said that the immigration agents’ actions resembled Operation Fast and Furious, stating, “I am particularly surprised that a federal agency would assist an international criminal conspiracy after the disastrous Operation Fast & Furious directly resulted in the heinous murder of CBP Agent Brian Terry in December 2010.”
He voiced his concern over the possibility that the problem stimulated more illegal immigration, noting, “Easing the ability of immigrants to illegally enter and remain in the United States only encourages greater numbers of illegal border crossings.” In the letter, Vitter asked how long the agents have been pursuing these actions, how many occurrences there have been, and what law makes it legal.
It’s not just the Department of Homeland Security; the children are normally passed to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, within the Department of Health and Human Services. The Department of Homeland Security defended the practice in December, asserting that the practice was legal and that its agents were dedicated to the “safe, fair and humane treatment” of minors. The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Acting Director John Sandweg, echoed, “While the court’s comments did not relate specifically to ICE, it is clear that the transportation of unaccompanied children (UAC) by ICE personnel is appropriate and legal.”