Congress Has the Power to Keep Central American Migrants Home



You know the crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border is real when “America’s Newspaper” calls for action. 

USA Today is hardly restrictionist on immigration policy — far from it, actually — but even its editors now agree that the record waves of asylum seekers and migrant “family units” are collapsing the system and creating a “mess.”

After again floating the dubious proposition that U.S. taxpayers dispatch billions more aid dollars to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to “re-establish control and order over their countries” (read: line the pockets of Northern Triangle oligarchs), a USA Today editorial promoted a better idea:   

“The second best approach — one that Democrats as well as Republicans should embrace — would be to amend a 2008 anti-trafficking law so that people [FAIR clarification: specifically Unaccompanied Alien Children, otherwise known as UACs] from the three affected countries fall under the same restrictions that people from Mexico and Canada do,” USA Today opined.

“Now, only people from America’s immediate neighbors can be sent home while their applications for asylum or refugee status are pending. This has had the perverse effect of causing some desperate Central Americans to think there is a green light for them.”

The newspaper is absolutely correct. 

Examining the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) last yearFAIR said the “well-intended humanitarian law, which was designed to protect minors from sex traffickers, is now being exploited.

“Minors from across the globe are now sent to our borders by families hoping to establish an immigration anchor in the United States. The overly broad provisions of the TVPRA virtually guarantee that unaccompanied minors will be admitted to the United States, and allowed to stay, in order to complete lengthy judicial proceedings that inadvertently encourage both fraud and further exploitation of children by parties savvy enough to exploit the system.”

That is exactly what is happening. Anyone with eyes can see it.

The Department of Homeland Security reported that under TVPRA and the futile catch-and-release policy it helps trigger, more than 267,000 UACs and family units were released into the interior of the U.S. from Fiscal Year 2016-2018. The current accelerating influx is on track to more than double that number before this year is out.

Yet, according to USA Today, “the president has never launched any kind of campaign to [fix TPRA], even when he had sympathetic majorities in both chambers of Congress.”

The newspaper’s ritual sniping at the White House aside, Congress must take responsibility for the law it passed eight years before Trump took office. TVPRA helped set the surge of UACs in motion, and lawmakers from both parties own this problem. They have the power to shut down a critical migrant magnet that’s magnifying a humanitarian crisis.

The American people expect commonsense, effective bipartisan action here. Isn’t it high time they got it?

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

11 Comments

  1. avatar

    Yes! STOP the insanity! When even USA Today recognizes the need to send illegals right back to their original countries, you would think that the Liberals would take a step back and examine the issue.

  2. avatar

    As a Canadian retired in Mexico my thoughts would be to compare the flow (migrants), to water behind a dam ; the main body behind the dam (needed U.S. immigrant labor), border ‘Walls’ at ports of entry, could be filtered upstream, (Mexican ports of entry from Quatamala/ Belize) thru U.S./ Mx/ cooperation and dollars. (These immigrants are also a drain on Mexico’s economy). Mexico now has an accomodating government; Trump hasn’t peed him off yet ; work with him.’
    Perhaps Quatemala and Belize governments could be ‘persuaded’ ($), to install ‘filters’at their southern borders with U.S. help . God forbid I would ever support your current leader but the idea of putting surplus people into sanctuary cities is actually a good idea. Even if they had to be assisted financailly and they were allowed in on a system comparable to your northern neighbor’s, they would become valuable assets to the U.S.
    When working on the main dam, on a major Saskatchewan River, in the early 60’s, all the incoming streams/ rivers, feeding that dam , had to be controlled hundreds of miles upstream.; seems like ‘Common Sense’. By the way” Common Sense is not a Required Course, in any university in the known world.! ( I do believe.!)

  3. avatar

    “Anyone with eyes can see it.”

    The traitors in Washington, DC, can see it, too; and you can count on them to do absolutely nothing.

  4. avatar
    kenna dennis on

    Yes it is time to put a stop to this ******** we are tired of supporting this scum and haveing our own raped and murdered and them running free to keep doing it.

  5. avatar

    Put 100,000 troops on the border ……. suspend all asylum those waiting and those coming…… turn every one around…… tell em to go home ……. keep troops there till the pussys in congress do their jobs

    • avatar

      I agree with every single thing you said, my sentiments EXACTLY! Stop these POS scumbags from coming into OUR country. Put the frigging wall up and electrify it, we could roast marshmallows as we watch them sizzle! Having a heart doesn’t come into this anymore at all- stop the POS disgusting worthless bastards from coming into OUR COUNTRY!! Especially the ones coming from the scab countries now.
      Take AH mexico out of nafda IMMEDIATELY for helping them and stop giving those piece of garbage low life countries a single frigging penny!
      And stop the BS chain migration NOW!

  6. avatar
    Dave Mittner on

    Changing that law wouldn’t “Keep Central American Migrants Home”. It would just give us the means to more easily send them home. It could just as well backfire and lead to the immigrants trying to sneak in and stay illegally, rather than seek asylum knowing they might be sent straight back from where they came.

    • avatar

      Contradictory nonsense. If changing the law means we can “more easily send them home”, then fewer are going to leave home to even try. Why go through all the trouble and, in many cases go into a lot of debt, when there is a good chance you will be sent back across the border.

      What the present law is doing is providing an incentive to abuse children, because it involves a long dangerous journey through the desert, when they may or may not even be the children of the people they come with. There is no real way to check if they are their children because the system is so overwhelmed that most are let go unchecked in a matter of days. The left tries to blame ICE for the children and adults that have died shortly after arriving here, but they were already gravely ill when they crossed the border.