The House Judiciary Committee passed Rep. John Carter’s (R-Texas) Protection of Children Act of 2017 (H.R. 495) by a 15-12 vote. This bill would remove loopholes to ensure that unaccompanied minors who cross the border illegally are promptly returned to their families in their home countries.
The bill would close loopholes and adjust immigration laws in an effort to discourage children from embarking on the dangerous journey to get into the U.S. including:
- Providing the same process to every child no matter their country of origin to ensure that all children who are not victims of trafficking or do not meet asylum qualifications are quickly returned to their home countries.
- Closing a loophole that allows the unaccompanied minors to have their asylum claims heard twice instead of once.
- Closing a loophole that allows children living with one parent to receive Special Immigrant Juvenile status, which is supposed to be reserved for children who are abandoned by both parents.
“For too long, human traffickers have used loopholes to skirt immigration law, preying upon children as they seek to reach the United States. By manipulating asylum laws, children are trafficked across the southwest border by drug cartels into uncertain circumstances. The Protection of Children Act is clearly a step in the right direction, combating human trafficking by reducing incentives to circumvent our immigration laws,” Rep. Carter said in a press release.
“The Protection of Children Act makes common sense changes to our laws to ensure minors who travel to the U.S. alone are returned home safely and quickly. It also contains preventative measures to protect kids who stay in the U.S. from being delivered into the hands of sponsors who may be criminals or child abusers,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Goodlatte (R-Va.).
Read more on this bill at the House Judiciary Committee.
Updated: Mon, Jul 10th 2017 @ 11:05am EDT