Whereas the flood of undocumented children entering the United States has reached a crest in recent months; and
whereas the countries of origin of the majority of these children are Central American countries which are undergoing civilian unrest, militarization, and leadership instability, and are far from the US border; and
whereas most of these children pass through the Mexico – US border into Texas and are detained in makeshift holding facilities in this state; and
whereas elected officials, both of the federal government and the state of Texas, have historically demonstrated non-partisan, sometimes unanimous, concern for children by establishing laws designed to protect these most vulnerable of human beings; and
whereas President Obama, Representative Cuellar, and other elected officials have proposed rewriting provisions of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008 with the intent to expedite deportation of children from countries not contiguous to the US on the same basis as children whose country of origin is Mexico or Canada.
whereas the care of undocumented children is currently assigned to the US Secretary of Health and Human Services who is charged with the duty to provide protections for children who may be subject to special danger as a consequence of repatriation or being released on their own recognizance;
Be it therefore resolved that the Bexar County Green Party calls upon elected officials to enforce and adequately fund, rather than weaken, federal and state statutes which exist for the purpose of protecting children from human trafficking whether perpetrated by domestic or foreign entities.
Be it further resolved that we urge that TVPRA Section 235 – Enhancing Efforts to Combat the Trafficking of Children – remain intact with respect to its provision that children from countries not bordering on the US continue to be referred to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, US Secretary of Health and Human Services, as a pre-condition to the determination of repatriation eligibility.
Be it further resolved that we call upon the Secretary of Health and Human Services to ‘ensure’, as provided by US immigration law and Section 235 of TVPRA-2008, that “all unaccompanied alien children who are or have been in the custody… have counsel to represent them in legal proceedings or matters and protect them from mistreatment, exploitation, and trafficking”; and further, “make every effort to utilize the services of pro bono counsel who agree to provide representation to such children without charge,” as well as provide additional funding for legal counsel as necessary to ensure adequate representation.
Be it further resolved that we call upon the officials of the state of Texas to do all in their power likewise to protect children, regardless of their country of origin, from “mistreatment, exploitation, and trafficking” by funding and implementing statutory remedies for the victims of human trafficking to the fullest extent provided by state and federal law.