(USNewsMag.com) – GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee is spearheading a bill that will grant border officials the authority and ability to fingerprint migrant children coming over the US-Mexico border in an effort to reduce child trafficking.
The act, introduced by Blackburn alongside 17 other GOP senators, will grant Customs and Border Protection agents the right to fingerprint migrant children who are younger than 14 years old. It will also require the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide reports of how many apprehensions occur every month involving false claims by traffickers that a child accompanying them was a blood relative.
The bill would also strip the attorney general’s authority to waive the fingerprint requirement at the border and criminalize “recycling” children—that is, using a child as a means to permit an adult migrant who isn’t a relative to appear as a family member, reducing their chances of deportation.
“Recycling” migrant children has been a concern for years. A 2019 case discovered that a man, 51, was able to purchase a 6-month-old baby in order to use the child to exploit a legal loophole allowing for his release. Although the number of children recycled at the US-Mexico border isn’t clear, the DHS acknowledged that such crimes happen at “alarmingly high rates.”
Child trafficking is a crisis that is only getting worse as the border situation remains unstable. Since 2021, the numbers have hit historic levels. Reports also show at least 85,000 migrant children remain unaccounted for.
The crisis is leading to an explosion of child labor exploitation by drug cartels and an increase in drug smuggling. In particular, the opioid fentanyl is having a devastating impact on Americans as it flows over the border, and many are beginning to lose patience with the Biden administration’s policies, which they blame for the situation.
Some of the senators joining Blackburn on the bill are GOP Sens. J.D. Vance of Ohio, Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and over a dozen more.
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