Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced Tuesday legislation designed to address asylum fraud and protect children arriving at the border from human trafficking.
The End Child Trafficking Now Act of 2019, amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to require a DNA test to substantiate the familial relationship between an alien and an accompanying minor. The bill would also prevent drug traffickers and gang members from trafficking children.
“It is horrifying that children are becoming victims of trafficking at our southern border,” Blackburn, who joined Ernst as the first two Republican women to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said. “By confirming a familial connection between an alien and an accompanying minor, we can determine whether the child was brought across the border by an adult with nefarious intentions.”
Blackburn said the current circumstances at the nation’s border is multifaceted and requires a holistic approach.
More than 5,500 fraudulent asylum claims have been uncovered at the Department of Homeland Security since May 2018, and earlier this year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) implemented a pilot program that found one in five claims of kinship were proven fraudulent.
“During my visit to the southern border this summer, I heard directly from Customs and Border Patrol agents about children who are tragically being trafficked across the border by illegal immigrants who falsely claim they are related,” Ernst said. “These children are being used as a passport to get across our border, and this needs to stop.”