July 12th, 2014
01:28 PM ET
8 years ago

Is law to protect children causing human flood at border? GOP sponsor stands by it

Washington (CNN) – Is a law designed to protect children from human trafficking actually causing a humanitarian crisis along the U.S. southern border, allowing thousands of children to illegally surge into the United States?

Amid the crisis and calls to change the law, one of its chief backers defends it.

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“I was very proud to be apart of the sponsoring” of the law, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Nebraska, told CNN’s Michael Smerconish in an interview Saturday. “Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery.”

The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 added protections for unaccompanied minors who entered into the U.S. illegally. It applied to children from nations that do not border the United States. Child immigrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have crossed into the U.S. en masse, this year. Because of the law, those child immigrants are not immediately processed for return to their country, whereas children from Mexico are immediately readied for return.

Many - including some Republicans - insist the law is partly responsible for the unaccompanied children pouring into the U.S., and that tweaking the law will stem the flow.

Fortenberry, instead lays much of the blame at President Barack Obama’s feet.

“This problem with the surge of children and families at the border did not occur until 2013,” Fortenberry said. “[It] did not occur in '08, '09, '10, or '11.”

“Five years after this, the reality is this is a convergence of factors of desperate poverty, ungoverned space, as well as an exploitation of our laws. And the president fostered an environment in which in 2012, he suggested that deportations were going to decrease. And I think that was a corollary to [the] exploitation of this law and other factors that have led to this sad, sad, tragic situation along the border.”

Smerconish pressed the congressman on whether or not the law he backed needs to be changed, as even members of his own party have said.

“It is my understanding buried within the '08 law, there is a provision that allows the president to negotiate with the Central American countries repatriation agreements, and that hasn't happened,” he said. “There may be a need to actually fix that portion of the law so that that aspect of the dynamic which has fostered the conditions for the surge of children can stop. But the first thing that needs to happen is some leadership.”

He said that if he could offer advice to the President, it would be to "send National Guard troops to the border, that he help back up the Border Patrol and get the situation under control.”

Meanwhile, will the congressman back the president’s request for $3.7 billion in emergency immigration funds?

“We’re not simply going to give a blank check,” Fortenberry said. “We have to go through this methodically in a sound way to restore order in a situation that’s chaotic.”

Filed under: House • Immigration
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Nacho31

    So do I tell my kids that they now HAVE to speak a second language or give up hope for the English language and bow down to the Mexican garbage flooding this country? I will stand with open arms for anyone who wants to live in this country, but goes through it in the legal way. Who cares how long it takes.
    The US should treat illegals as poorly as the Mexican government does, but then we will be criticized for treating them so inhumanly. Gotta love double standards and no backbone from our government.

    July 12, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Obama is deliberately importing these kids..........because he is using the law improperly to allow him to get away with that.

    July 12, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Chris..E.al

    0bama just will not secure our border in anyway . But i do know probably one of the reasons he wants amesty is because of his uncle ?

    July 12, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    We can see the GOP FISCIL conservatives are really worried about our spending any money on humanatary aid while at the same time giving big business over 250 BILLION dollars in TAX CUTS. This must be the corperations are people GOP CLOWNS at work. How in the world do YOU SICK GOP MORONS actually think YOUR going to win in 2014 midterms?????? Your own MOTHERS will probably vote DEMOCRAT !!!!!

    July 12, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    “This problem with the surge of children and families at the border did not occur until 2013,” Fortenberry said. “[It] did not occur in '08, '09, '10, or '11.”

    The situations in Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua have worsened recently – and fox and RWNJs have been lying over and over again about all the freebies illegals get when they come here.

    THOSE are the primary reasons for the sudden influx of refugee children – that, and their parents' desire to save them.

    July 12, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. Hugo

    Give me a freaking break, using this law as a basis to prevent deportation while issuing Executive orders for selective enforcement and ignoring our other Federal immigration laws is just another example of what these morons must think of us all that are running this scam. Obama created this with his illegal Dreamer Act BS, he is neck deep in IRS and Benghazi and the truth will come out somewhere along the line. Corrupt from top to bottom and it will all come out here shortly, I'm sure the power brokers have figured out this one is a losing proposition and he is going down.

    July 12, 2014 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  7. jinx9to88

    “We’re not simply going to give a blank check,” Yep but these GOP clowns in Congress just pass a 275 billion dollar tax cuts for the rich with no offsets.

    July 12, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  8. rs

    Rick McDaniel
    Obama is deliberately importing these kids......
    Sir, you are quite unhinged.

    July 12, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  9. rs

    0bama just will not secure our border in anyway . But i do know probably one of the reasons he wants amesty is because of his uncle ?
    Sloppy thinking there Chris. First- why does the onus to "secure" (whatever that means) our borders fall just to Mr. Obama? How many Presidents before have NOT done this? Think there might be a reason for that? Next, what country is his uncle from? Nicaragua? El Salvador? Ecuador? Guatemala?

    Conspiracy theories as bad as that are worthless.

    July 12, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  10. ejhickey

    do we still allow indentured servitude?

    July 12, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  11. rs

    “We’re not simply going to give a blank check,” Yep but these GOP clowns in Congress just pass a 275 billion dollar tax cuts for the rich with no offsets.
    Never mind their mindless taxpayer dollar blowing on shutting down the government.

    July 12, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. don in albuquerque

    Lets see, 52.4 million spent so far on votes to remove AMA, don't have any idea (happily) how many million spent on ridiculous investigations that have gone no where, 24 billion lost on a government shut down, and you want to talk about handing someone a blank check????? Does this look like even mediocre leadership or fiscal responsibility to you???

    July 12, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. Hugo

    don i albuquerque- ridiculous investigations that have gone no where...it is called obstruction of justice by the office of the Attorney General. Why do you suppose two separate black Federal judges have required IRS to explain the deception, deceit and obstruction? This Administration is as corrupt as it gets and it will not go unchecked, the reckoning is coming. You are an idiot...it was Obama's mandated shutdown, you wanna blame someone, take a good look at what Harry Reid has been doing in the Senate.

    July 12, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  14. chuck

    The 2008 law is not the reason the children our coming–do you think they know about the law? Obama's support of the dreamers act and constant speeches that children who come here illegally should be allowed to stay and decision not to deport them is what is driving them. The law does make it hard to deal with the thousands because it requires individual hearings to assess their status. That is why law didn't apply to Mexican children, we knew thousands of Mexicans come and could not have these hearings for all of them but no one expected the children from central america would flood the borders, so, law is not cause of the problem but it is making the solution difficult and needs to be changed. If these children are refugees–why aren't the UN refugee people telling Mexico to grant them assylum and care for them? The "refugees" spend weeks getting from Guatamala to the US so the Mexican government should be responsible under the UN doctrine–instead the Mexican government transports them to the US to make it our responsibility.

    July 12, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  15. Hugo

    rs-secure our borders...where is the money allocated by Bush to build the border fence and harden our security? Oh yeah, Obama spent it on advertising south of the border, underwear and monopoly games to bring this crap to us. Hack.

    July 12, 2014 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  16. kool aid man

    Hugo, your a real gem, lmao, they don't come any less informed than that, too funny!

    July 12, 2014 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  17. Hector Slagg

    Aw, So,
    It will take about 10 minutes to satisfy the requirements of this law. An Envaluation from the Embassy's in the countries of the un lawfullness in these countries should be short and sweet. The Border Patrol can do the interview as they show up. Most of these youth look well dressed to me. Send them home post haste. All these countries receive Foreign Aid. If they refuse to take them back cut out the foreign aid until they do.

    All those of you that want to keep them, get on the next plane south and don't look back.

    So sorry that the House voted a 275 Billion Tax Cut. Not paid for? With what? All the Congress has to do is cut spending. Not agreed with that? We will see if Harry allows it to come to the Senate Floor, where a lot of Senators who are in a heap of trouble will vote it down. It will of course mean more jobs if it is passed but you Liberals want to cut out the middleman of which hasn't worked ever.

    July 12, 2014 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  18. just asking

    what is the big problem with all these illegals storming our borders? this is exactly what the democrats and obama have wanted and what they created with all their talk of "immigration reform" (AKA amnesty), stopping deportation and obama unilaterally granting amnesty to millions of young illegals. now obama gets to tell even more lies about it being the republicans fault and if their bogus "comprehensive immigration reform" was passed this wouldn't be happening.

    i am a bit surprised that all of the democrats and liberals that caused this haven't stepped up to the plate to take all of these kids in to their homes and to pay for them knowing how caring and compassionate they are. (<-- sarcasm)

    July 12, 2014 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    don't be a naive moron! did you honestly expect obama to negotiate anything that allows the deportation of more illegals?!! he's done everything in his power to help keep illegals here, including granting amnesty to large numbers of them.

    repeal this law until the agreements are in place. and if you don't vote to fix or repeal this, then you can kiss your seat good bye idiot. trying to help kids is one thing but it can't be at the expense of the country and a huge magnet that encourages this type of very dangerous and illegal activity. right now the law is hurting, endangering or killing far more kids than it is helping.

    July 12, 2014 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  20. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    What's wrong with protecting children? Maybe we'd be better off if we didn't protect them, and paid more attention to gerrymandered districts. After all, we need these districts protected, regardless of money spent. We're republican, dont ya know.

    July 12, 2014 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  21. Gary

    To all the unborn children, better take the love you get while your in the womb. Once your born, your screwed.

    July 12, 2014 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  22. Mike in Texas


    These kids are coming from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Last I checked they weren't Mexico......i.e. Mexicans. Get an education dimwit

    July 12, 2014 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  23. chrissy

    Ridiculous how ppl want to blame every stinkin thing on Obama particularly the very same Obstructionists in Congress who refuse to work on Imigration Reform! They need to get off their collective butts and get to work! How about all the imigration laws from Obamas predicessors? The ones that allow imigrates to recieve food stamps? Not have to pay taxes for X amount of years on their businesses? Yet theyre worried about CHILDREN??? Idiots!

    July 12, 2014 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  24. ProudDem

    Mexican garbage? Are you people serious? Despite the racist slant, the factual basis is just staggering.

    July 13, 2014 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  25. Gurgyl

    -they have the bigger issues in immigration within than just from borders, ever household of these India guys hire illegals for IT, medicine. Now, first deport this trash. American kids need better than this. I-94 expires, don't Renee–send them, let them come back–this way USA generates money too.

    July 13, 2014 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
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