The Corner

Human Trafficking Bill Exempts Those Who Help Smuggle Illegal-Immigrant Relatives

The bipartisan human-trafficking bill being blocked by Senate Democrats contains a loophole that would exempt some enablers of illegal immigration from paying a fine. The “Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015,” is designed to increase penalties on human traffickers, but exempts families who help smuggle relatives into the United States from suffering under those same penalties. The bill states:

The court shall assess an amount of $5,000 on any non-indigent person or entity convicted under . . . section 274 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1324) (relating to human smuggling), unless the person induced, assisted, abetted, or aided only an individual who at time of such action was the alien’s spouse, parent, son, or daughter (and no other individual) to enter the United States in violation of law.

In other words, a parent who aids and abets a drug cartel to help smuggle his or her illegal-immigrant child across America’s southern border — something that happened over and over again during last summer’s border crisis — will not be subject to the bill’s $5,000 penalty. This penalty would be directed toward a fund to benefit the victims of human trafficking, so it would appear that the exemption denies the fund a large potential source of revenue — in addition to letting some enablers of illegal immigration and human trafficking off scot-free.

Republican senators Jeff Sessions of Alabama and David Vitter of Louisiana introduced an amendment to eliminate this provision of the bill, but Senate Democrats are preventing the bill from seeing the light of day regardless. As NR’s Joel Gehrke reported, Senate minority leader Harry Reid is blocking the bill — which received the unanimous support of the Judiciary Committee earlier this year — because of a separate provision that prevents public funding of abortions, a codicil that has been uncontroversial for decades.

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