New Bill From Senators Sessions And Johnson Shows Who Truly Has The Moral Authority Over Immigration

irliLast week’s Senate Homeland Security hearing on the continuing unaccompanied minors surge coincided with the introduction of Chairman Ron Johnson and Senator Sessions’ Protection of Children Act (S. 2561), a bill that, among other things, promises to require the government to collect “certain basic information about individuals to whose custody unaccompanied alien children are released.” That provision is no doubt in response to reports from the Associated Press and elsewhere that “overwhelmed U.S. officials” at Health and Human Services, the agency tasked with placing Unaccompanied Alien Minors (UAMs) with sponsors, had been ignoring vetting standards such as fingerprinting, proper identification and criminal background-checks resulting in thousands of the minors being placed in homes where they were sexually assaulted, starved, or forced to work for no pay. Missing from Tuesday’s hearing, however, was any mention of who’s really responsible for the gruesome findings: open-borders activists themselves.

For years, immigration authorities maintained a child-protective policy of placing UAMs with parents only. That all changed when two open-borders attorneys filed a class action suit on behalf of four Salvadorian illegal immigrants in 1985. The resulting outcome, which let minors skip detention and stay with mere “sponsors,” has been hailed ever since as one of the first major legal “wins” by the anti-sovereignty movement. Until now, perhaps.

Veteran open-borders attorneys, Carlos Holguin of the National Immigrants’ Rights Council (or NIRC, later renamed the National Immigration Law Center) and Peter Schey (the first Executive Director of NIRC) at the time argued that the government’s then-parents-only release policy was simply a ruse to “interrogate” the parents in the hopes of deporting them back to “civil war.” Holguin and Schey’s strategy was clear: allow UAMs to also be transferred to mere “sponsors” and more could avoid detention and get a better chance at winning asylum (with the unsuccessful simply being able to skip their removal hearings).

The strategy was gradual. Schey and Holguin initially broke the government’s release policy by convincing a judge to allow for court-appointed guardians. Then they began attacking the “poor conditions” at detention facilities to justify their claims. As Holguin’s said in interviews since, “the real fight was about detaining the minors in the first place.”

The case, Flores v. Meese, was closed after a decade of litigation in 1997 resulting in the now well-known “Flores settlement” which mandated that UAMs be released promptly or be provided “safe and appropriate” placement during custody. For these Schey and Holguin, the breakdown in vetting from overwhelmed officials is a cruel bit of irony for those kids now being subjected to sexual abuse.

The Flores settlement has since been expanded and has become a major weapon in the war against our borders. The latest expansion, ordered by California federal judge Dolly Gee, created heightened detention standards for illegal alien-minors who were accompanied by their parents at the border. With that win (also engineered by Schey and Holguin), coupled with the post-DACA surge of UAMs, now every open-borders attorney is piling on. Already, numerous class actions have been filed against our immigration authorities complaining of such “inhumane” treatment as being served “cold burritos” for lunch and being searched on poorly swept floors.

The problem with Flores, besides allowing children to be picked up by strangers, is that it sets up an impossible and inevitably-challenged standard. Someone can always find a problem with a detention facility. Once attorneys are granted discovery, they can flood into a facility and nit-pick it for poor lighting, too much lighting, “bad food”, etc. This is especially true for facilities ill-equipped to handle surge-numbers or new facilities built on a rush-basis.

This is likely the intention. As the government itself has stated in its argument against expanding Flores, less UAM-detainment only leads to greater UAM-surges — Judge Gee called this “speculative” and “fear-mongering.” And greater surges leave the government even less prepared to build new detention centers or maintain the adequacy of current ones. Meanwhile, there’s the constant drumbeat for amnesty and the halting of deportations from groups like the Soros-funded NILC and others. In effect, these groups lobby for conditions that make adequate detainment impossible then sue when those conditions become “substandard.”

Activists’ endless allusion to “children” and “families” meanwhile is likely more about politics than anything else. Before Flores, Schey and Holguin led the 1980s “sanctuary movement” which sought to make legal services available to far-left activists fleeing El Salvador and other war-torn Central American nations which US foreign policy was faulted for. Speaking about Congressional Democrats in 1980, Linda Wong of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) connected far-left politics with the open-borders movement when she stated, “While they have not hesitated to speak out against Reagan for his continued support of dictatorships, they also have not been quick to condemn Simpson-Mazzoli (an employer-sanctions bill).” “It is this gap”, she continued, “which must be closed in the next phase.”

Further proof that open-borders groups’ veneration of children is simply cynical theatre is that some children are apparently more worthy than others. Operation Babylift was President Ford’s attempt after the fall of Saigon to move thousands of South Vietnamese orphans to welcoming families in the U.S. The National Immigration Project, an appendage of NLG and precursor to NILC, filed a class action lawsuit blocking the move because, according to NLG’s newsletter at the time, “The new government of South Vietnam, via telegram, indicated its desire for the return of the children and its commitment to assist them in rejoining their families.” Ironically, NLG’s sister organization, the Center for Constitutional Rights, called Ford’s effort a “cynical” use of children and demanded that the children be first interviewed and traced back to Vietnam, which critics countered by claiming this would lead to retaliation against relatives from the newly installed Communist government.

It’s time for immigration control-activists to assert their moral authority over the immigration issue. After all, it is they who want to help the poor of the world build up and improve their own nations; not lure their children across our border and ignore the results when tragedy strikes.

About Author


Founded in 1987, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) is a national, nonprofit, public-interest legal education and advocacy law firm.


  1. avatar
    Barbara Griffith on

    There are many voters that have changed from supporting Cruz and Rubio to Trump part of it was because of Trump being blamed for all of the protesters at one of his gatherings in Chicago that he cancelled because of all the trouble.
    I watched Hannity’s news show when he was talking to Trump on the phone about all of that and Trump said that the police told him it would be better if he cancelled his appearance because of security. I imagine they told him that there was so many protesters they might not be able to handle crowds like the ones outside that were getting into fights. You would have had to call in the military to control people like the large numbers that was there. Most of the comments I have read think the protests were all planned and prearranged like a lot of the others by the Black Lives Matter nut jobs.

  2. avatar

    Not only are lot of illegal border crossers, both children and women, abused here, but the fact is that a high percentage are sexually assaulted during the journey through Mexico. Who says? Not only Donald Trump, which is what he was referring to when he said “rapists”, but Amnesty International has documented it year after year. Many migrants of all ages headed for the border simply disappear in Mexico. So many in fact that there is a very large group of relatives in the Central American countries who are demanding that Mexico provide answers.

    Which refutes the argument that they’re coming here to “avoid danger”. No, the danger they face is mostly on the way here. They come here to get on the US taxpayer gravy train.

    • avatar

      From Amnesty International’s 2015/2016 report on Mexico:

      “Migrants and asylum-seekers passing through Mexico continued to be subject to mass abductions, extortion, disappearances and other abuses committed by organized crime groups, often working in collusion with state agents.”

      Not that you’re going to read that in our media. They much prefer giving time to Mexican ex-presidents portraying Americans who want a secure border as racist.

        • avatar

          I wouldn’t mind Sessions as vp. One thing he is going to do is keep Trump true to his promises whether or not he’s vp.

          • avatar

            I found this in the web

            From Leaders Reid and Pelosi:

            “President Obama’s Immigration Executive Actions fall well within the legal and Constitutional precedents set by every Democratic and Republican president since Eisenhower,” said Leader Pelosi and Senator Reid. “In fact, in the absence of Congressional action, Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush themselves took bold action to protect the spouses and children of people who received status under the IRCA of 1986.”

            “Republicans’ breathtaking obstruction has perpetuated an utterly broken immigration system that tears families apart, dishonors our values as Americans, and fails to meet the needs of our country. By and large, we are a nation of immigrants and the vast majority of families who would benefit from these programs include American citizens. We should embrace their contributions,” continued Leader Pelosi and Senator Reid. “We are confident the Supreme Court will recognize the legality and necessity of the President’s actions to help bring our immigration system back into line with the values and needs of our country.”

          • avatar

            LOL Why Does the MSM Even Try to Predict a Theoretical Clinton/Trump Polling Result?

            When Bernie’s 35% sector doesn’t like Hillary either…..the Dems are as divided as the GOP as the Independents seek candidates that aren’t on the lobbyist take like Cruz. They’re flocking to Trump, who controls half the nation’s Dem/Rep vote. Trump will slaughter Clinton if he’s the nominee.