Hoeven, Blackburn Introduce Legislation Requiring Familial DNA Testing at Southern Border

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven and Senator Marsha Blackburn this week introduced the End Child Trafficking Now Act, legislation to require a DNA test to determine the relationship between illegal immigrants coming across the border and any accompanying children.

“I’ve traveled to the southern border repeatedly over the last few years, and we need to stop the illegal immigration crisis,” said Senator Hoeven. “Children are being trafficked at the border by individuals claiming to have family ties in order to exploit our immigration laws. This is a humanitarian crisis. ICE and CBP officials agree Rapid DNA testing deters illegal crossings. Mandating DNA testing will help to ensure that bad actors are punished for trafficking these children.”

The End Child Trafficking Now Act would:

  • Require the deportation of illegal immigrant adults if they refuse a DNA test;
  • Mandate a maximum 10-year prison sentence for 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.

Senators Hoeven and Blackburn are joined on the bill by Senators Bill Hagerty, Thom Tillis, Mike Lee, Cindy Hyde-Smith, Ted Cruz, Joni Ernst, J.D. Vance, Steve Daines and Bill Cassidy. Representative Lance Gooden introduced the companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The legislation is the latest in Hoeven’s work to address the Biden administration’s failed immigration policies and stop the crisis at the southern border. Over the last several years, Hoeven has met with North Dakota National Guard members in Del Rio and Eagle Pass, Texas to highlight their mission in support of Customs and Border Protection operations. The senator has also reviewed border operations in El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley, and traveled with a bipartisan congressional delegation to Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia and Guatemala to outline the need to work with these nations to stop illegal immigration and prevent human and drug trafficking.

Hoeven continues pressing the Biden administration to secure the border, enforce the law, including:

  • Reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) or Remain in Mexico Policy, which required people seeking asylum at the southern border to wait in Mexico while their case was adjudicated.
  • Strictly Enforce the Safe Third Country Agreements requiring that those coming from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala seek asylum there first, otherwise be returned to await the outcome of their claims.