Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Human trafficking is fallout from failed immigration policies

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and State Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) held a press conference this week (see the video) to unveil a new AG office report on the subject of "human trafficking" (link here - pdf).

In Texas' context, human trafficking is mostly an unintended consequence of pointlessly restrictive immigration policies that forbid workers from entering the United States legally to work. When wannabe immigrants can't obtain official approval or else pay the ever increasing fees charged by coyotes (immigrant smugglers), not infrequently they'll agree to what's basically a form of indentured servitude or debt peonage to pay off the fee that, once they get to the United States, can morph into what the AG's report referred to as "modern day slavery." According to the report:
Texas is considered a major hub for human trafficking into the U.S. According to recent estimates, one out of every five U.S. trafficking victims travels through Texas along Interstate 10. Nearly 20 percent of human trafficking victims found nationwide have been in Texas. The DOJ Report on Activities to Combat Human Trafficking, Fiscal Years 2001-2005 included El Paso and Houston in its list of “most intense trafficking jurisdictions in the country.”
Sen. Van de Putte said that international agencies now consider human trafficking the second largest global criminal enterprise behind drug smuggling, tied with illegal arms smuggling. Moreover, she said, of the three it's the fastest growing.

Most of the recommendations in the report involve more training for police and others in the justice system and more data gathering and analysis, but they also suggested a couple of expansions of new criminal statutes passed last session, in particular making "commercial sexual exploitation of a person less than 18 years of age as a per se violation of the human trafficking statute," and also to "Define and criminalize child sex tourism.'” (That last one's a headscratcher ... was anybody out there claiming "child sex tourism" is legal?)

In addition to the AG's report, the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee had an interim charge on human trafficking, but they held that hearing outside of Austin and no video or audio was ever made available online. We'll get a sense of their analysis, and whether it differs from General Abbott, when they release their interim report sometime before the legislative session begins.

See MSM coverage here, here, here, and here, and a related blog post from the national ACLU. Sen. Van de Putte's bill on the subject is SB 89, for those interested the details of her proposals.


Anonymous said...

One other thing about illegal immigration - that's a fast way to destroy the environment through over population.

Anonymous said...

Well, I was going to say something to support getting tougher on immigration, but Anon 5:01's post is so stupid that it made me forget what I was going to say.

Anonymous said...

These politicians could better spend their time finding ways to improve the prospects of these folks for legal immigration.

I know, I know, we must protect our jobs! The problem is that jobs in the government punishing illegal immigration do nothing to improve our standard of living.

In the short run, you may protect an "American's" job that is dependent upon government policy that is not actually doing something to improve the society we live in.

In the long run, we're all living on one planet and we're all going to have to consider how our actions impact the whole planet, not just our "turf".

Anonymous said...

Not sure what "failed immigration policy" means.

Seems like we have had a decent set of immigration laws for many years.

They have never been enforced and new meaningless laws are piled upon the old unenforced laws.

The nonenforcement has been deliberate and successful. This has nothing to do with "failure."

I see how all the "problems" we are told about now that are related to "immigration policies" are desired or created problems that are very useful for the bigger agenda.

I operate under the knowledge that completely and totally and properly enforcing the Texas border with Mexico is unquestionably do-able, but those who wanted to really do that are removed from their positions, or put in prison like Ramos and Compean.

There are Texas county and city offices on the border that have no employees with Anglo sounding names and which only speak spanish.

The illegal immigration has been a part of Texas's history for at least a hundred years.

The mechanism for a prospective employer of an immigrant to check on their immigration and work status has been in place for at least ten years.

I am experiencing a huge disconnect on all of this. I do not understand all the "left wingers" who say they care about illegal aliens but really belong to groups financed by the Rockefellers and Fords. I do not understand the extreme right wing folks who are screaming "population control" and "overpopulation" which are nothing but code words for the Rockefeller eugenics and genocide programs.

The Texas legislature, as always, is completely out of the loop on the illegal immigration issue.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To 4:31 who wrote: "Not sure what "failed immigration policy" means."

I'm not sure from your comments you read the post or pay attention to much but your own opinion. The AG is talking about people for whom your enforcement system works - they can't get in the country on their own - so they end up selling themselves to bondage through international criminal networks to get across the border. What's so difficult for you to understand? Human trafficking networks are a predictable but unintended consequences of a failed policy of restricting immigration instead of documenting it to let us weed out the bad guys.

I agree, you're experiencing a huge disconnect on this.

Anonymous said...

'a failed policy of restricting immigration instead of documenting it to let us weed out the bad guys."

So, the "failed policy" is the restricting of immigration.

And we should not restrict immigration, but we should document it so we can weed out the bad guys.

I would say you are the one who expressing a huge disconnect.

The idea is to dissolve our borders and to have a region called the North American Union. The only "bad guys" are the ones who do not help the plan come about in the way they want it to. It is quite possible that human traffikers play an important role in the plan, just as CIA drug traffickers do.

Part of the plan may involve having some of the left factions physcially fighting the right wing factions as just another contrived manipulated conflict.

Those caught in the crossfire may be some patriotic Americans like me who believe we must have a secure border and enforced immigration laws to have a Bill of Rights and civil liberties.

Pete Murphy said...

Grits, rampant population growth threatens our economy and quality of life. Immigration, both legal and illegal, are fueling this growth.

I'm not talking just about the obvious problems that we see in the news - growing dependence on foreign oil, carbon emissions, soaring commodity prices, environmental degradation, etc. I'm talking about the effect upon rising unemployment and poverty in America.

I should introduce myself. I am the author of a book titled "Five Short Blasts: A New Economic Theory Exposes The Fatal Flaw in Globalization and Its Consequences for America." To make a long story short, my theory is that, as population density rises beyond some optimum level, per capita consumption of products begins to decline out of the need to conserve space. People who live in crowded conditions simply don’t have enough space to use and store many products. This declining per capita consumption, in the face of rising productivity (per capita output, which always rises), inevitably yields rising unemployment and poverty.

This theory has huge implications for U.S. policy toward population management, especially immigration policy. Our policies of encouraging high rates of immigration are rooted in the belief of economists that population growth is a good thing, fueling economic growth. Through most of human history, the interests of the common good and business (corporations) were both well-served by continuing population growth. For the common good, we needed more workers to man our factories, producing the goods needed for a high standard of living. This population growth translated into sales volume growth for corporations. Both were happy.

But, once an optimum population density is breached, their interests diverge. It is in the best interest of the common good to stabilize the population, avoiding an erosion of our quality of life through high unemployment and poverty. However, it is still in the interest of corporations to fuel population growth because, even though per capita consumption goes into decline, total consumption still increases. We now find ourselves in the position of having corporations and economists influencing public policy in a direction that is not in the best interest of the common good.

The U.N. ranks the U.S. with eight other countries - India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Uganda, Ethiopia and China - as accounting for fully half of the world’s population growth by 2050. The U.S. is the only developed country still experiencing third world-like population growth, most of which is due to immigration. It's absolutely imperative that our population be stabilized, and that's impossible without dramatically reining in immigration, both legal and illegal.

If you’re interested in learning more about this important new economic theory, I invite you to visit my web site at where you can read the preface, join in my blog discussion and, of course, purchase the book if you like. (It's also available at

Please forgive the somewhat spammish nature of the previous paragraph. I just don't know how else to inject this new perspective into the immigration debate without drawing attention to the book that explains the theory.

Pete Murphy
Author, "Five Short Blasts"