As the Trump administration speaks out on the problem of child trafficking at the southern border, one Texas lawmaker is responding with a bill that would administer DNA tests to migrants who arrive in the U.S. claiming to be with family members.
Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas., introduced the End Child Trafficking Now Act on Monday. The bill would implement DNA testing at the border, and punish those caught trying to cheat the system with up to 10 years in prison.
The proposal comes in response to growing awareness of the fraudulent use of children by adult migrants to gain access to the U.S. The 1997 Flores court settlement limits how long children can be held in custody to just 20 days, meaning that adult migrants claiming to be family members will also be released into the homeland as their asylum cases are considered.
“Unfortunately we see that all too often now … adults that are bringing children with them that are not their own to try and take advantage of what they perceive as a loophole in our law that would allow them to be released into the United States,” Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan told the House Oversight Committee last week, as he described how a DNA test helped thwart one migrant who allegedly “bought” a child in a bid to exploit loopholes.