A recent amendment to the Senate immigration reform package would require U.S. Customs and Border Patrol stations to employ child welfare specialists in order to provide “basic humanitarian assistance to unaccompanied children in federal custody.”
Last week, the Child Trafficking Victims Protection Act (CTVPA) was annexed as an amendment to S. 744, The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act.
The CTVPA, originally proposed in 2011 by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, a Democrat representing California’s 40th District, was officially added to the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform package by Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) earlier this month. The addition was later approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee via a voice vote.
According to Rep. Roybal-Allard’s office, the CTVA responds to “numerous documented cases” of young people experiencing “egregious abuses at the hands of federal immigration officials.”
If S.744 passes, the CTVPA amendment would require U.S. Border Patrol and Customs posts to maintain child welfare experts, who would then screen young people entering the country, to identify possible child trafficking or persecution victims and help them receive follow-up treatments if needed.
“Thanks to Senator Hirono’s exceptional leadership, the Senate Judiciary Committee took a critical step to help protect some of the youngest and most vulnerable victims of our broken immigration system,” Rep. Roybal-Allard was quoted in a recent press release. “By accepting legislation I offered in the House, the Child Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the Committee sent a strong signal that all children, regardless of their immigration status, deserve to be treated with care and compassion.”
Illustration credit: Rick Nease / MCT Direct