Donald Trump keeps repeating the false claim that some mysterious law passed by Democrats is forcing his administration to carry out the abusive separation of immigrant children from their parents. There has been plenty of pushback, with legal experts explaining that there is no law requiring his actions, but Trump has merely doubled down, adding a hashtag, #changethelaws.
Now the POTUS is demanding that Dems negotiate and agree to fund his border wall while one legal expert warns that what Trump is after could have further consequences.
Deepak Gupta is an attorney known in part for his expertise and experience in arguing Constitutional law issues before the Supreme Court. On Wednesday, he tweeted to amplify something he’s warned previously: The law Trump is talking about is one that protects victims of sex trafficking.
Last month, Gupta warned the general public about misunderstanding Trump’s claim. He explained that the law the GOP administration claims forces them to take children, even infants, from their parents, is being interpreted in a way it has never been interpreted.
Everyone's assuming Trump just made up a law requiring separation of children. The truth is worse. His DOJ is arguing in court that the Trafficking Victims Protections Reauthorization Act–a law designed to *protect* children–requires it. Excerpts from DOJ and ACLU briefs below. pic.twitter.com/ZYZp67ZrNG
— Deepak Gupta (@deepakguptalaw) May 26, 2018
In short, the law in question is the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, and it specifically addresses how U.S. Immigration officials should handle unaccompanied minors — children who arrive at the border without a parent.
The argument from Trump’s administration is that, once the parents are detained for prosecution, their children become unaccompanied minors, who must be taken into Federal custody for their own protection.
Yes, the Trump Admin is really arguing in court that it's *required* to separate children–even though nobody read the law that way until now. The argument is all sophistry & wordplay: minors are unaccompanied (and hence trigger the TVPRA) when the gov't forcibly renders them so. https://t.co/P0t9PYqOBK
— Deepak Gupta (@deepakguptalaw) June 20, 2018
While the twisting of words in an unrelated statute to justify terrorizing infants and toddlers is alarming, Trump’s recent demands to change the law in question brings new concerns. The reality star-turned politician has been tweeting lately about changing immigration laws while claiming that this particular law forces his administration to separate children.
The Bipartisan Policy Center explains that children arriving in the U.S. without a parent or guardian may be vulnerable to sex traffickers and other types of abuse and exploitation. The statute in question has previously been interpreted to apply to children who did not have a responsible adult present when they were apprehended (as opposed to later, after their responsible adult was detained). It also calls for officials to question the child to determine if they have suffered abuse, before helping them safetly return to their own country.
If Trump truly hopes to change the law that he claims forces his administration to separate children from their parents, and isn’t just pulling a bait-and-switch, the results could be harmful to children by providing protection for sex traffickers, whose victims may no longer be taken into protective custody and given a chance to provide evidence against their abusers. Ultimately, it could result in unaccompanied minors being expected to return to their country of origin without protection.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com