Hagerty, Blackburn, Colleagues Introduce Legislation Requiring Familial DNA Testing at Southern Border

June 7, 2023

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) today joined Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), along with eight other Senate Republican colleagues, in reintroducing the End Child Trafficking Now Act, legislation that would require a DNA test to determine the relationship between illegal immigrants coming across the border and any accompanying children.

Reintroduction comes as the Biden Administration reportedly ended all DNA familial testing at the border last week on May 31, 2023.

“The deterioration of our southern border empowers cartels, human traffickers, and smugglers to exploit innocent children,” said Senator Hagerty. “Human smugglers pair children with single adults so they can enter as a family units. The End Child Trafficking Now Act includes common sense safeguards to prevent children from being trafficked by cartels, which perpetuates the endless cycle of human smuggling.”

As many as 30% of children DNA tested were found not to be related to the illegal immigrants posing as family members.Meanwhile, drug cartels and gangs use minors to falsely present themselves as family units and seek asylum at our southern border,” said Senator Blackburn. “The Biden administration’s decision to halt all DNA familial testing is a grave misstep that not only puts the safety of Americans at risk but also increases the number of migrant children being trafficked. My legislation would stop criminals in their tracks and help protect children from exploitation – an idea we should all be able to support.”

Specifically, the End Child Trafficking Now Act would:

  • Require DHS to deport illegal immigrant adults if they refuse a DNA test;
  • Mandate a maximum 10-year prison sentence for all illegal immigrant adults who fabricate family ties or guardianship over a minor;
  • Criminalize “child recycling,” which happens when the same child is used repeatedly to gain entry by illegal immigrant adults who are neither relatives nor legal guardians; and
  • Require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to process the child as an unaccompanied minor under current law if family ties or legal guardianship cannot be proven with the accompanying adult.

Full text of the legislation can be found here.