Expert witness warns Senate that Biden end to migrant family DNA testing program will result in more child trafficking

June 16, 2023
Ben Marquis

It was reported last month that President Joe Biden's Department of Homeland Security was effectively ending a Trump-era program that tested the DNA of newly arrived migrant families at the southern border to ensure that the adults and children were actually related.

This week, an expert witness testified to a Senate committee that the inevitable result of that change would be an increase in child trafficking across the border and throughout the nation's interior, Breitbart reported.

The migrant family DNA testing program, first launched in 2019, was reportedly effective in exposing anywhere from 15 percent to 25 percent of claimed migrant families to be fraudulent, but that program has now been ended following the expiration of a federal contract with the company that produced and processed the DNA tests.

Ending program will result in more migrant children being smuggled and trafficked

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing titled "Ensuring the Safety and Well-Being of Unaccompanied Children," in regard to migrant children who arrive at the southern border by themselves or in groups that don't include directly related family members.

One of the witnesses who provided testimony during that hearing was Lora Ries, who serves as the director of the Border Security and Immigration Center at The Heritage Foundation.

In her prepared testimony, Ries referenced the family DNA testing program launched in 2019 to detect fraudulent family units and observed that "Family unit fraud can lead to, or stem from, other crimes, including immigration violations, identity and benefit fraud, human smuggling, human trafficking, and child exploitation."

"Despite successfully identifying fraudulent families, the Biden Administration decided to end family DNA testing at the border when the contract ended on May 31, 2023," she continued.

Ries added, "This termination decision will knowingly result in the same conditions that existed before DHS began DNA testing -- smuggling and recycling of children to appear in fraudulent families at the border and more child trafficking once inside the U.S."

Decision to end program is "unconscionable"

Also speaking out against the Biden administration's decision to end the family DNA testing at the border program is Mark Morgan, the former acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who told The National Desk that the decision was "unconscionable."

In referencing the prior "catch and release" policy for migrant families that was ended under the Trump administration but resumed under President Biden, Morgan said, "It didn't take long for the migrants and the cartels to realize that and exploit what we saw in the Trump administration that fake families were actually being formed, meaning kids, minors, were actually bought and sold and rented to form these fake families because, again, it was their automatic passport in the United States."

"What we did, shows we learned that was to implement this rapid DNA testing, as well as we put additional ICE agents there to conduct interviews and what we saw was an enormous amount of fake families. We were essentially able to shut that down," he continued.

"What this Biden administration has done, like so many others, is they've removed every single effective tool. What this is going to result in is more suffering and more exploitation of vital children. Not less. It makes no sense," Morgan added.

Legislation filed to make DNA testing mandatory

Breitbart reported that Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has filed legislation that would make DNA testing mandatory for all migrants, adults and children, at the border, and her bill already has 10 cosponsors in the Senate while an identical measure has been introduced in the House by Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX).

"What we have learned from Border Patrol is that as many as 30 percent of all the children that arrived at the southern border are being trafficked," Blackburn said of the need for her legislation. "There is no family relationship."

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