Democrats Block Child Trafficking Deterrent to Require DNA Tests for Migrants Crossing Border with Kids

By John Binder

Senate Democrats have blocked what former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials called “a strong deterrent” against child trafficking at the United States-Mexico border.

On Thursday, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) sought to pass by unanimous consent the End Child Trafficking Now Act which would require DHS to DNA test all adult migrants and the children they arrive with at the southern border to prove they are relatives.
Senate Democrats blocked its passage.

The bill’s goal, Blackburn and other Senate Republicans said, is to end the process of child trafficking where adult migrants bring unrelated children with them to cross the border in the hopes of being released into the U.S. interior.

President Joe Biden’s DHS reportedly ended such DNA testing last year.

Last year, Lora Ries, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Border Security and Immigration Center, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Biden administration’s ending DNA testing would ultimately lead to a spike in child trafficking.

“The results are very predictable: A return to more child smuggling, child recycling, and child trafficking. Say you’re a family and we’ll take your word for it,” Ries said.

DHS officials have previously suggested that as many as 3-in-10 children arriving at the border with adult migrants are being trafficked.

Those startling figures are what prompted former President Donald Trump’s administration to expand DNA testing across the border.

“It is clear on-site DNA testing has a strong deterrent effect, as [Homeland Security Investigations] agents witnessed multiple instances of individuals confessing to faux families prior to being tested as well,” former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official Derek Benner said in 2019.

Sens. Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Thom Tillis (R-NC), John Hoeven (R-ND), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Steve Daines (R-MT), J.D. Vance (R-OH), and Joni Ernst (R-IA) are cosponsoring the bill. Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX) previously introduced an identical bill in the House.