US Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has joined three other GOP senators— Joni Ernst (R-IA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Mike Rounds (R-SD)–to introduce the “End Child Trafficking Now Act.”
Blackburn’s office released a statement
saying: “The bill requires DHS to deport alien adults if they refuse a DNA test and mandates a maximum 10-year prison sentence for all alien adults who fabricate family ties or guardianship over a minor. It also criminalizes ‘child recycling,’ which happens when the same child is used repeatedly to gain entry by alien adults who are neither relatives nor legal guardians. If family ties or legal guardianship cannot be proven with the accompanying adult, the Act requires HHS to process the child as an unaccompanied minor under current law.”
“After seeing the crisis firsthand, I’m reintroducing legislation to require DNA testing at the border to deter fraud and child trafficking,” Blackburn stated.
“Adults attempting to slip across our borders under the guise of being a parent or relative to a minor must be DNA tested to prove they are related. Drug cartels and gangs are using children to falsely present themselves as family units and seek asylum at our southern border. These unaccompanied minors are especially vulnerable to trafficking and are often forced to perform sex acts. Making DNA tests mandatory on anyone claiming a family relationship with a minor will send a powerful message that traffickers will be caught and aggressively prosecuted,” she said.
“Children are tragically being trafficked across the border by illegal immigrants who falsely claim they are related,” Ernst added.
Sen. Ernst also stressed the need for DNA testing. “This needs to stop — for the wellbeing of these children and the security of our nation. One simple way to address this problem is by having DNA testing in place so we can ensure that an unaccompanied minor is actually connected with the person claiming to be their family, not being used as a ‘human passport’ to illegally get across our border.”
In the statement, Sen. Tillis noted the high risk of sexual assault children face at the border: “Unaccompanied children are passing through our border with the help of strangers and members of cartels, putting these children at an increased risk of sexual abuse and human trafficking.”
“This is completely unacceptable and the Biden Administration’s response has been severely lacking. This legislation is a commonsense, humane reform to how we determine family relationships at our border and can help prevent innocent children from being abused. I am proud to work with my colleagues so we can protect these children from a life of cruelty and hardships.”
Sen. Rounds called such children “pawns” used by criminals to exploit America’s failed border security. “We need to stop criminals from exploiting our immigration policies and using vulnerable children as pawns to get into the United States,” he said.
“Our legislation would help rescue children from human trafficking by mandating a DNA test to verify family ties at the border. If family ties cannot be proven, children will be processed as unaccompanied minors and their kidnappers will not be released into the U.S.”
Out of the 100,441 arrests for illegal border crossings in February, unaccompanied children accounted for nearly ten percent. The Wall Street Journal reported in March that the government had apprehended an average of 523 unaccompanied minors each day.