WASHINGTON, D.C., November 21, 2023 – U.S. Senator Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, recently joined Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and 16 of their Senate Republican colleagues in introducing the Preventing the Recycling of Immigrants is Necessary for Trafficking Suspension (PRINTS) Act.
This legislation is aimed at combatting human trafficking and child recycling by giving U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) the authority to fingerprint non-citizens under the age of 14.
Additionally, this bill would require the U.S. 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 and submit an annual report to Congress identifying the number of minors who were fingerprinted pursuant to this Act.
Finally, the PRINTS Act removes the Attorney General’s authority to waive fingerprinting requirements for those illegally crossing the southern border and criminalizes child recycling.
“This Administration continues to turn a blind eye to the tragic human costs of its reckless agenda,” stated Senator Britt. “The reality is that President Biden’s border policies are anything but compassionate. Every single day, untold numbers of vulnerable children are being trafficked and recycled across our porous southern border. These innocent girls and boys are not living the American Dream – they’re facing an American nightmare. Meanwhile, women and men continue to be viciously trafficked by the cartels, and American families and communities continue to be devastated by the deadly fentanyl flowing into our nation. Enough is enough. It is past time to end this unprecedented humanitarian and national security crisis. Yet again, my Senate Republican colleagues and I are offering commonsense solutions to do just that.”
“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.”
Joining Senators Britt and Blackburn in cosponsoring this legislation are Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Hoeven (R-N.Dak.), Mike Rounds (R-S.Dak.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.Dak.).
- 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, potentially subjecting these children to exploitation, abuse, and forced labor.
- Despite these statistics, current DHS regulation and federal law prohibit Border Patrol agents from fingerprinting children under the age of 14.
The text of the bill can be found here.
Earlier this year during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies hearing, Senator Britt questioned Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra about the Administration’s reckless policies regarding the treatment of unaccompanied migrant children.
Senator Britt expressed her grave concern for field guidance introduced by HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement stating HHS would no longer require background checks for adult household members and alternate adult caregivers within certain categories of sponsors. Senator Britt noted that at the expense of the lives of children and their well-being, this Administration has chosen to implement irresponsible policies in order to help speed up the process of releasing minors.