(The Center Square) – A group of Republican U.S. senators have introduced legislation that would require U.S. Department of Homeland Security to take steps to prevent human trafficking at the border between the United States and Mexico.
The Stop Human Trafficking of Unaccompanied Migrant Children Act would require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to take steps when placing an unaccompanied child with a potential sponsor inside the United States. It would further require a home visit before release.
The proposed legislation would require a fingerprint background check and vetting process that includes a public records check; a check of the National Sex Offender Registry, a Federal Bureau of Investigation National Criminal History check based on digital fingerprints, a child abuse and neglect check and a criminal history check. Those requirements would apply to the sponsor and anyone 18 and older living the sponsor’s household.
It would require at least five unannounced in-person home visits in the first year after release.
“President Biden’s refusal to secure the border has turned the area into a hotbed of human trafficking, including trafficking of minors,” U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, said in a statement. “Our bill will ensure that any unaccompanied children go to responsible, vetted, and legal adults.”
The measure would prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services from releasing an unaccompanied child to the custody of a sponsor who is unlawfully present in the United States, unless that person is a biological parent, legal guardian or relative of the child.
The bill comes as the number of unaccompanied migrant children arriving at the nation’s southern border has increased.
“The Biden Administration’s reckless approach to immigration puts vulnerable migrant children at risk,” U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said in a statement. “The recent reports of child labor violations are a disturbing reminder of the consequences of the president’s open border policies. The Stop Human Trafficking of Unaccompanied Migrant Children Act is an important step in preventing this from happening and ensuring that proper vetting procedures are in place to protect these vulnerable children.”