- Debate in Washington has centered on a 2008 anti-trafficking law. Obama administration officials and some lawmakers from both parties are seeking to extend the fast-track screenings the law allows for unaccompanied youths from Mexico, using them for Central Americans as well.
- Policy makers proposing to change the law say they want to strike a fair balance, creating tougher deterrents to reduce the illegal surge while preserving the country’s traditions of protecting people fleeing violence, especially children.
- Immigration advocates and many Democrats insist on preserving what they describe as important protections in the 2008 law for unaccompanied youths who flee their home countries or are smuggled to the U.S.
- Most Republicans and a few Democrats want to change the law to address circumstances far different from six years ago, when no more than 8,000 kids arrived at the border each year without their parents.
- The dispute has held up congressional action on President Barack Obama’s $3.7 billion emergency spending request for more immigration judges, detention facilities and other resources for the border. Prospects for a compromise are dim, and Congress may leave for its annual summer recess in two weeks without doing anything to deal with the unfolding crisis.
- William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 codified court-ordered protections for unaccompanied young migrants, and modified a distinction in U.S. policy between the treatment of young Mexican migrants and those from other nations.
- Under the law, kids from Mexico and Canada who arrive here without their parents or other guardians must go through an initial screening by Border Patrol agents, who can turn them around quickly unless they demonstrate a fear of persecution back home or meet certain other limited criteria.
As more unaccompanied minors from Central America cross the border into the U.S., some local governments are turning them away. But in New York City, Nisha Agarwal, commissioner for immigrant affairs, is heading up an inter-agency task force to marshal resources for these minors. The new commissioner talks about these efforts and what else her office and the city are doing in the face of inaction in Congress on immigration reform.
Crossing Borders via @newyorker
Immigration Activists Hold Funeral For GOP: It’s ‘Dead To Our Community’ via @huffingtonpost
- During the staged funeral procession, demonstrators said that they wouldn’t cry for the Republican Party or mourn its death because its politicians are out of touch on immigration and no longer represent their community.
- At each office, the casket was laid outside the office doors while members of the procession, some of whom were undocumented, shared personal stories to suggest that the GOP is out of touch on immigration.