Efforts to quell the border crisis have led congressional Republicans to call for a return to a Trump-era policy that would combat both illegal immigration and human trafficking simply through “an idea we should all be able to support.”
Accompanying its Senate companion bill reintroduced by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) after initially proposing it in Aug. 2019 under Democratic control, Rep. Lance Gooden was set to propose the “End Child Trafficking Now Act” in the House.
In less than five pages, the legislation sets forth requirements for the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Health and Human Services to DNA test any border crosser unable to provide sufficient documentation to prove a familial relation to a minor accompanying them.
Speaking with Fox News, Gooden said, “Every child deserves protection, particularly those most vulnerable. The exploitation of underage aliens by human traffickers is one of the most sickening results of the border crisis. This legislation will ensure that young children are no longer viewed as ‘skip the line’ tickets by cartel members.”
This fiscal year, a reported 81,474 single or unaccompanied minors were encountered at the southern border alone having already spiked in the fiscal year ending in 2021 by 193 percent.
Were the bill to pass and be enacted, a violation included the potential for a fine and/or as much as 10 years in prison. Blackburn said in her own statement on June 7, “As many as 30% of children DNA tested were found not to be related to the illegal immigrants posing as family members. Meanwhile, drug cartels and gangs use minors to falsely present themselves as family units and seek asylum at our southern border.”
“The Biden administration’s decision to halt all DNA familial testing is a grave misstep that not only puts the safety of Americans at risk but also increases the number of migrant children being trafficked. My legislation would stop criminals in their tracks and help protect children from exploitation — an idea we should all be able to support,” she added.
The senator had also said, “Migrants attempting to enter our country illegally often bring children with them under the guise of being a parent or guardian of that child, which is precisely why it is critical for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to conduct DNA testing.”
Previously, a New York Times report had revealed that many children being led across the border were finding their way into grueling jobs violating labor laws. “…what we’re hearing is that many of these children are going to individuals who want to sue them as child labor,” Blackburn said at the time with HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement had acknowledged losing track of 85,000 children who’d entered the United States out of a known 250,000 unaccompanied alien kids.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) April 20, 2023
“It’s one of the few ways we can prevent human trafficking,” and it helps “prevent children from being used as props — to get adults, that would otherwise be immediately removed, into this country,” former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker told Fox News.
“The Flores decision,” he added of the Flores Settlement that requires DHS and HHS to provide services to alien children, “made it very tough because when a minor is encountered, the clock starts, and it just makes it very difficult to actually have any policy that is rational.”
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