WASHINGTON, D.C. — As leaders in Washington debate how to respond to the large number of children who have fled from Central America to the United States, law enforcement leaders are underscoring the clear need for a better immigration process that addresses the root problems in our broken system and treats children with compassion.
"In 2008 President Bush signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. The law provided legal and humanitarian protections to unaccompanied children crossing into the United States from countries outside of Mexico and Canada,” said Harris Country, Texas, Sheriff Adrian Garcia. “The original intent was to prevent the death of young innocent lives. As Harris County Sheriff I agree with President Bush that protecting all innocent lives should be our concern, and that's why protecting all lives remains my No. 1 priority today. This is also why I have made fighting human trafficking a priority of mine, because we must be ever vigilant and mindful of the dangerous people who will exploit children for profit or to gain access to our country."
“The surge of newly arrived migrant children crossing the U.S. border is yet another example of an immigration system that has failed,” added Dayton, Ohio, Police Chief Richard Biehl. “The welfare of these children demands a prompt and compassionate response from federal authorities. This most recent crisis is a mandate for Congress to take immediate and reasoned measures to pass commonsense immigration reform now.”
“Today, it is absolutely necessary for local law enforcement authorities to partner with state and federal agencies to protect our homeland, as the safety of our communities is our No. 1 priority,” said Orange County, Fla., Sheriff Jerry Demings. “According to existing federal law, many of the children crossing our borders will be sent back to their home countries. We should be careful to treat them humanely and ensure that they are not victimized or exploited by criminals during the repatriation process. The time is now for Congress to make immigration reform a priority and address these developments.”
“The current crisis on the southern border highlights the critical need to address our broken immigration system,” added Marshalltown, Iowa, Police Chief Michael Tupper. “It is time for our elected representatives to set petty partisan politics aside and work together to solve these problems.
“The status quo has failed,” Tupper continued. “We must immediately address the humanitarian crisis facing our country and deal with the scores of children who have fled violence and poverty in their own countries in order to find hope and opportunity in the United States. Congressional inaction on immigration reform is crippling public safety efforts in our local communities and allowing drug cartels to exploit innocent children and families.”
“Law enforcement officials who understand what it means to keep the public safe have spoken,” added Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “Children fleeing violence must be treated compassionately, and Congress must do its job and replace our broken immigration system.”
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