President Signs Legislation Reauthorizing Trafficking Victims Protection Act

Congress has approved and sent to the President legislation that authorizes appropriations for fiscal years 2004 and 2005 for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) (Division A of Pub. L. No. 106-386). The House of Representatives approved the legislation (H.R. 2620, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003) by a vote of 422-1 on November 4. The Senate followed on December 9, passing the bill by unanimous consent. The President signed the bill (H.R. 2620; PL 108-193) into law on 12/19/03.

H.R. 2620 makes several modifications to the immigration provisions of the TVPA. Specifically, the legislation: (1) amends the INA regarding eligibility for a nonimmigrant “T” visa for trafficking victims to authorize State and local (as well as Federal) law enforcement agencies to certify that a trafficking victim has complied with any reasonable request for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of acts of trafficking; (2) increases from 15 to 18 the minimum age at which a trafficking victim is required to assist in investigations and prosecutions to be eligible for a “T” visa; (3) adds unmarried siblings under age 18 to the family members of a trafficking victim eligible for a “T” visa; (4) makes the public charge ground for inadmissibility under a “T” visa inapplicable to trafficking victims; and (5) eliminates the aging out of “T” visa applicants.

The legislation also directs the President to establish programs of border interdiction outside the United States by providing grants to foreign nongovernmental organizations that provide for transit shelters operating at key border crossings, and help train survivors of trafficking in persons to educate and train border guards, officials, and other law enforcement officials to: (1) identify traffickers and victims of severe forms of trafficking; (2) treat such victims appropriately; and (3) monitor the implementation of border interdiction programs, including helping in the identification of such victims to stop the cross-border transit of victims.

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Cite as AILA Doc. No. 03121715.

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