Rep. Mike Rogers had an idea for how to deal with the 90,000 unaccompanied minors expected to cross the U.S. border this year. "Why aren't we putting them on a bus like we normally do and sending them back down to Guatemala?" he said to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson last month at a hearing on the child-migrant crisis lapping at our border.
"The law that was created in 2008 requires that we turn these kids over—if they are unaccompanied—to the Department of Health and Human Services within 72 hours generally," Johnson replied. "So that's what we do."
Rogers was part of that very 110th Congress that passed the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act in 2008 by unanimous consent, no less. The act did many things to combat human trafficking worldwide—including providing assistance to foreign governments to combat abuse and increasing penalties for trafficking crimes. A small portion of the bill concerned added protections for unaccompanied children crossing the U.S. border. Specifically, kids from noncontiguous countries would be transferred to the Health and Human Services Department for care and processing. HHS would then be authorized to appoint advocates for the children and could work to unite the kids with families or place them in foster care.