OCA Applauds the Decision to Remove Anti-Immigrant Amendments in Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 23, 2015) — The OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates commends the U.S. Senate’s decision to not consider U.S. Senators David Vitter’s (R-LA) and James Inhofe’s (R-OK) respective anti-immigrant amendments to the Justice For Victims of Trafficking Act.
On Wednesday, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act was passed unanimously by the Senate without considering Senator Vitter or Inhofe’s Amendments that affect immigration outcomes. This legislation increases the penalties associated with human trafficking and uses those funds to identify traffickers and help victims recover. Senator Vitter’s Amendment (S.Amdt. 284) would have prevented children born in the United States from receiving citizenship unless one of their parents is a citizen, a legal permanent resident, or active duty in the U.S. military.
Senator Inhofe’s Amendment (S.Amdt. 275) would have expanded the indefinite and mandatory detention of immigrants. Neither amendment would have enhanced the enforcement of anti-trafficking laws and could have had the effect of increasing trafficking victims.
“We thank the Senate for preventing the inclusion of these two anti-immigrant Amendments in passing this important legislation,” said Michael W. Kwan, OCA National President. “By some estimates, Asians and Pacific Islanders account for over half of all trafficking victims in the United States. The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act will provide resources for these victims to take back their lives.”
“Senator Vitter’s Amendment would have opened the door to the same kind of heinous discrimination seen during the time of the Chinese Exclusion Act, which denied persons born in the United States citizenship based upon their heritage,” continued Kwan. “To deny this right would consign the innocent children of temporary legal workers, international students, and the 1.3 million undocumented workers of Asian descent to statelessness and future economic and social hardship.”
While these amendments were not considered for this bill, OCA, on behalf of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities, will follow closely any further attempts to strip birthright citizenship or to increase an already inflexible policy of immigrant detention.
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).