Rep. Lankford: 2008 Law Does Not Apply to All Underage Illegals

Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 06:49 PM

By Greg Richter

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The 55,000 unaccompanied children who have flooded across the border in recent months aren't all subject to the 2008 law intended to protect young asylum-seekers, says Rep. James Lankford of Oklahoma.

"The 2008 law is very clear: If they have a parent in the United States, that law does not connect," Lankford said Tuesday on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto."  The law applies, he said, only "if they are an unaccompanied alien child, only if they don't have a parent with them or a parent in the United States."

Congress passed the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 on bipartisan votes, and it was signed into law by President George W. Bush. Its intent was to protect children who are victims of human trafficking, but children from Central American countries have been using the law to get across the Mexican border and into U.S. custody.

Lankford did not cite the portion of the law that says that the law does not apply to children with parents already in the country, but did say that more than half of them do have parents already in the country illegally.

"The folks that are here in the Unites States are calling for them to go ahead and come join them in the United States," Lankford said.

He said scores of Filipinos are following the law by petitioning for their children to come to America after they have immigrated. Many have to wait 20 years.

"This administration is saying because people are just crossing a river rather than an ocean, we're going to allow them to be able to short-circuit this," Lankford said. "That's a real problem in just basic fairness."

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