Rounds Introduces Bill Requiring DNA Border Testing to ‘End Child Trafficking Now’
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) along with Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) introduced the End Child Trafficking Now Act to prevent drug cartels and transnational criminal gangs from trafficking and exploiting migrant children to gain illegal entry into the country. Representative Lance Gooden (R-Texas) introduced companion legislation today in the House of Representatives.
“We need to stop criminals from exploiting our immigration policies and using vulnerable children as pawns to get into the United States,” said Rounds. “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.”
“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,” said Blackburn. “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.”
Unaccompanied children made up nearly 10% of the 100,441 arrests for illegal border crossings in the month of February 2021. For the month of March, the government has caught an average of 523 unaccompanied minors a day over the past three weeks, according to The Wall Street Journal. At that rate, March would set a record month, with 16,000 unaccompanied children apprehended.
- 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.