Florida Senators Bash Biden's Decision to Stop Using DNA at Border to Combat Child Trafficking

Matt O'Hern

Joe Biden's administration reportedly plans to end familial testing at the Mexico border.Photo byNew South Politics

In response to reports that President Bidens' adminstration directed the Department of Homeland Security to discontinue DNA verification among children at the border, Florida's U.S. Senators Rick Scott (R) and Marco Rubio (R) co-authored a letter with Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ted Budd (R-NC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) addressed to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Alejandro Mayorkas.

In the letter, the senators demand that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continue to conduct familial DNA testing at the U.S. southern border. This letter follows recent reports indicating that CBP will stop using “all familial DNA testing” at the U.S. southern border this month which will significantly increase the risk for children to be exploited and trafficked through fraud schemes along the U.S. southern border.

The letter is pasted below:

Dear Secretary Mayorkas:

Recent reporting indicates that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) plans to end “all familial DNA testing” at the U.S. southern border on May 31, 2023. We write to demand that CBP continue to conduct familial deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing at the U.S. southern border. 

As you know, familial DNA testing has played a vital role in combatting child trafficking and family fraud. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (OIG), from June 2019 to September 2021, 8.5 percent of all rapid DNA tests came back as “negative for claimed parent-child relationships.” Further, in fiscal year 2019, CBP noted that “Board Patrol agents identified more than 6,200 fraudulent family members.” This action also follows recent reports and Congressional inquiries pertaining to the Biden Administration’s willful neglect of migrant children who have fallen victim to labor trafficking in the United States.

After years of consistent inadequacy in addressing the crisis at the U.S. southern border and unwillingness to protect migrant children from exploitation, the decision to end “all familial DNA testing” will inevitably result in further exploitation of these desperate children. Specifically, it will enable human smuggling and trafficking and will deepen the pockets of criminal enterprises seeking to traumatize and take advantage of vulnerable families and children. This result is unacceptable and your agency has a responsibility to mitigate and prevent such outcomes.

Given these concerns, we demand that CBP continue to conduct familial DNA testing at the U.S. southern border. Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your prompt response. 

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Matt O’Hern’s journalism experience includes political news reporting for various organizations and news publications in Florida since 2005. O’Hern graduated from Samford University in Birmingham, AL with a degree in journalism.

Orlando, FL

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