As Washington D.C. Republicans are turning up the heat on the Biden administration amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the border, a number of GOP Senators have introduced a bill to curb child trafficking.
The End Child Trafficking Now Act was introduced last week by Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Mike Rounds (R-SD) as RedState reported, while Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX) introduced companion legislation in the House.
Mexican cartels have been exploiting children on the border amid the Biden administration’s early halt on deportations and reversing of the remain-in-Mexico policy employed by the previous Trump administration.
Children, the New York Post recently reported, are often separated from their migrant mothers by cartels hired to smuggle them into the U.S. to be used as “decoys” for other migrants or drug smugglers to find easy entry into the interior of the country.
There have also been chilling reports in the past of children being “recycled” by cartels to pair with migrants to pose as family members so they will be treated as a family unit, rather than an individual.
In a press release accompanying the unveiling of the legislation she co-sponsored, Sen. Blackburn said she explained that ahead of her visit to the border with several of her congressional colleagues, she had heard “how drug cartels and transnational criminal gangs traffic and exploit migrant children to gain illegal entry into the country.”
“After seeing the crisis firsthand, I’m reintroducing legislation to require DNA testing at the border to deter fraud and child trafficking. 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,” she explained in the release.
“Drug cartels and gangs are using children to falsely present themselves as family units and seek asylum at our southern border,” the Tennessee senator wrote.
“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.”
Sen. Ernst echoed Blackburn’s concern, noting the DNA testing requirement would “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.”
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