U.S. Congress Passes Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act

Act includes provisions to promote the identification and protection of trafficking survivors and those who are eligible for asylum and other forms of immigration relief.

On December 11, 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate passed the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008. The Act will help promote the identification and protection of trafficking survivors and those who are eligible for asylum and other forms of immigration relief.

The bill will also set new standards for how immigrant children will be treated in custody, and define the kind of mental health and other services they will receive, and the conditions under which they can be repatriated.

The bill requires the Department of Homeland Security in association with other relevant agencies, to develop policies to ensure that unaccompanied alien children are safely repatriated. For the first time, repatriation safeguards will now exist for unaccompanied alien children from Mexico and Canada who are 1) victims of a severe form of trafficking, 2), at risk of being trafficked upon return, or 3), have a credible fear of persecution. Screening of all such children must occur within 48 hours of entry into the United States. Children who are not from Mexico or Canada (a contiguous country) will continue to be deported no matter if the three before-referenced conditions should exist.

Under the new bill, the Department of State is required to create a pilot program to promote safe repatriation for Mexican and Canadian children falling under the bill’s protective umbrella. The bill also mandates the relevant Federal agencies to submit reports on all children removed from the United States, including data on nationality, ages and gender of children and a description of any immigration relief sought by these children, whether such relief is granted or not. Children may not be placed in a secure facility absent “a determination that the child poses a danger to self or others or has been charged with having committed a criminal offense.”

A. Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer in Texas. Before selecting an immigration lawyer in Houston Texas, contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee by visiting their information filled web site at http://www.visatous.com.

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