Ernst Joins Effort to Help Prevent Child Trafficking at Southern Border

The bill would require DNA testing to ensure unaccompanied minors aren’t being used as a ‘human passport’ to illegally get across our border

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) helped introduced legislation to combat asylum fraud and protect children arriving at the border from falling victim to human trafficking. The End Child Trafficking Now Act of 2021 requires DNA testing to determine the familial relationship between an illegal immigrant and an accompanying minor.
“Children are tragically being trafficked across the border by illegal immigrants who falsely claim they are related. This needs to stop—for the wellbeing of these children and the security of our nation. One simple way to address this problem is by having DNA testing in place so we can ensure that an unaccompanied minor is actually connected with the person claiming to be their family, not being used as a ‘human passport’ to illegally get across our border,” said Senator Joni Ernst.
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.