Problem with Executive Order on Immigration Means Traffickers Can Target Kids Again


Following yesterday’s executive order to keep families together at the southern border, establishment news outlets no doubt rejoiced at the thought of President Donald Trump’s so-called “retreat.”

While he isn’t backing down on his “zero-tolerance” policy, yesterday’s order says that the secretary of homeland security “shall, to the extent permitted by law… maintain custody of alien families during the pendency of any criminal improper entry or immigration proceedings involving their members.”

And “the extent permitted” by law at the moment is 20 days, meaning families in the United States illegally will be detained together until those 20 days are up.

But the wording of the executive order re-opens the floodgates to a frightening issue that the Trump administration has been working to end.

Under the Obama administration’s immigration policies, human trafficking ran rampant at the border.

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A 2016 report revealed human smuggling rings were using “unaccompanied alien children” to avoid the detention of the illegal immigrants smugglers were bringing into the country. As whole “families” wouldn’t be detained, children would be either adopted or kidnapped before being matched with random adults to help them cross the border.

“You can never really verify who the parents really are,” Jason Piccolo, former Border Patrol and Customs Special Agent, explained to Townhall. “Especially in light of adult males showing up with kids.”

“When they’re presenting themselves they’d get an asylum interview and they’d get released,” Piccolo continued. “It was widely known that the human smuggling cell knew that aliens coming in from South America stated that they were told if they were a family unit they would be released at the border.”

And once in the country, the children would have nothing to defend themselves against sexual abuse, trafficking, and forced labor.

The supposedly harsh immigration policies under President Trump sought to end the threat of human trafficking at our southern border. According to a White House fact sheet, “In FY 2017, DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations initiated 833 human trafficking cases, resulting in 1,602 arrests and 578 convictions, and identified 518 victims of human trafficking.”

Unfortunately, the latest executive order seems to reverse what the Trump administration sought to do to protect children from becoming victims of human trafficking. If the administration interprets the order as such, we are right back to catch-and-release.

With no way to prove that those coming into the country illegally are truly a family unit, the Obama administration allowed nearly 80 to 90 percent of illegal immigrants seeking asylum with children to be processed and freed, many ultimately going on to live in the US illegally for years following.

Now, the Trump administration needs to continue to work toward securing our borders while also ensuring the safety of innocent children victimized by those looking to illegally enter the country.

To be clear, no one, despite what the media may say about our president, wants to see a young child go through the trauma of being separated from their parents. But the also-traumatic problem of human trafficking at the border appears to have been overlooked, making it a problem most seem to rather pretend does not exist.

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Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
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