Hoeven, Blackburn Introduce Legislation to Allow Fingerprinting of Migrant Minors to Stop Child Recycling

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today introduced legislation, led by Senator Marsha Blackburn, to combat trafficking and child recycling by giving U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) the authority to fingerprint migrants under the age of 14. Additionally, the Preventing the Recycling of Immigrants is Necessary for Trafficking Suspension (PRINTS) Act would require the Department of Homeland Security to publicly report the number of apprehensions in a given month involving child traffickers who falsely claimed that an accompanying child was a relative, require DHS to submit an annual report to Congress identifying the number of minors who were fingerprinted; and criminalize child recycling.

“Instead of enforcing our laws, the Biden administration continues to allow the crisis at the southern border to grow,” 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. Allowing CBP agents to fingerprint these children is a common sense step to help ensure that these minors aren’t being used by traffickers, and would help put a stop to child recycling. This legislation is part of our efforts to force the Biden administration to act and secure the border.”

“Under President Biden’s open border policies, we are witnessing a devastating humanitarian crisis, and children are the primary victims,” said Senator Blackburn. “Abusing and using a child again and again is one of the most heinous acts imaginable, and yet it happens every day along the southern border. Empowering border patrol agents to fingerprint non-citizens under the age of 14 would give them the tools they need to identify victims of child recycling and stop this abuse in its tracks. Given that the Biden administration just carelessly lost track of 85,000 migrant children, passing this legislation could not be more critical.”

In 2019, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) identified 600 children who were “recycled,” with one child being brought across the border as many as eight different times. Additionally, recent reports indicate that the Department of Health and Human Services has lost track of over 85,000 children released to sponsors, subjecting these children to exploitation, abuse, and forced labor. Despite these statistics, current DHS regulation and federal law prohibit CBP from fingerprinting children under the age of 14.

The legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Tom Cotton, Bill Cassidy, Bill Hagerty, Roger Wicker, Steve Daines, Joni Ernst, Ted Cruz, Mike Rounds, Thom Tillis, Mike Lee, Cindy Hyde-Smith, John Cornyn, Katie Britt, Marco Rubio, J.D. Vance and Kevin Cramer.