Immigrant Surge Rooted in Law to Curb Child Trafficking


The New York Times has the story Immigrant Surge Rooted in Law to Curb Child Trafficking.

WASHINGTON — It was one of the final pieces of legislation signed into law by President George W. Bush, a measure that passed without controversy, along with a pension bill and another one calling for national parks to be commemorated on quarters.

“This is a piece of legislation we’re very proud to sign,” a White House spokesman, Tony Fratto, told reporters on Dec. 23, 2008, as the president put his pen to the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, named for a 19th-century British abolitionist. “This program has been very effective around the world in trying to stop trafficking in persons.”

Now the legislation, enacted quietly during the transition to the Obama administration, is at the root of the potentially calamitous flow of unaccompanied minors to the nation’s southern border.

As with any article from The New York Times, you cannot treat what it says as gospel.  However, if you hadn’t known about the “William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008” before, you now have some new information to consider.

One side-effect of reading this article is the highlighting of unintended consequences of governmental action.  Perhaps the lawmakers should have asked themselves how people will learn to take advantage of this new legislation.  The Judiciary branch also needs to partake of this same type of introspection.  The Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Hobby Lobby case specifically refused to consider the unintended consequences of their decision with the reasoning that these consequences had not occurred yet.  Of course the unintended consequences of their decision could not have already taken place before they made the decision.  The consequences of an action, by definition, can only occur after the action.

This is the same deficiency in thinking that allowed the securitization of mortgages to lead to catastrophe.  All the studies about what could happen with securitized mortgages looked at the history of mortgage default rates before securitization had been introduced into the market.  No thought had been given in the research to how the incentives in the market would change by the introduction of securitization.  It turns out that the due diligence of the lenders that produced the history of low default rates was rendered unnecessary  by this change in the environment of lending.

It is great irony that the issue in the Hobby Lobby case revolved around contraception.  It is typical of the majority of Justices that they did not think ahead to the consequences of their action.  The majority was all male.  Men frequently do not think about the consequences of sexual activity the way that women do.

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