Hagerty, Blackburn, Colleagues Introduce Legislation Allowing Fingerprinting of Migrant Minors to Combat Child Recycling 

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WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) joined Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), along with 16 other Senate Republican colleagues, in introducing the Preventing the Recycling of Immigrants is Necessary for Trafficking Suspension (PRINTS) Act, legislation to combat trafficking and child recycling by giving U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) the authority to fingerprint non-citizens under the age of 14.

“The unprecedented national security and humanitarian crisis on our southern border has led to horrific child trafficking through coyotes and drug cartels,” said Senator Hagerty. “Countless children are being exploited by these criminal organizations that are abusing Biden’s open border policies. I’m pleased to join Senator Blackburn’s effort to equip DHS to detect and combat this nefarious and heartbreaking crime on our southern 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.”

Specifically, the PRINTS Act:

  • Gives CBP the authority to fingerprint non-citizens under the age of 14 in order to combat trafficking and child recycling;
  • Requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to publicly report the number of apprehensions in a given month involving child traffickers who falsely claimed that an accompanying child was a relative;
  • Requires DHS to submit an annual report to Congress identifying the number of minors who were fingerprinted pursuant to this Act;
  • Removes the Attorney General’s authority to waive fingerprinting requirements for those illegally crossing the southern border; and
  • Criminalizes child recycling.

Background:

  • 1 in every 3 human trafficking victims is a child.
  • In 2019, ICE identified 600 children who were “recycled,” with one child being brought across the border as many as eight different times.
  • 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 regulations and federal law prohibit Border Patrol agents from fingerprinting children under the age of 14.

Full text of the PRINTS Act can be found here.

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