WASHINGTON – Congressman Lance Gooden (R-TX) has introduced legislation to reduce the inflow of unaccompanied children crossing our border by imposing consequences on parents for placing their children in the hands of dangerous human traffickers.

The Migrant Child Trafficking Prevention and Accountability Act would prevent parents from obtaining legal immigration status and cut public benefits to “green card holders” if they attempt to move their children across the border.

"It has become apparent that President Biden and his Border Czar Kamala Harris have no real plan to prevent child trafficking across our southern border," said Congressman Gooden. "The administration is releasing children to anyone, leaving them vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking. We must send a clear message to parents looking to smuggle their kids into our country that putting their children in harm’s way will not benefit their families in the end."

Specifically, the bill will deter parents from sending their children across the border illegally by:

  1. Permanently barring the parent or legal guardian from changing their immigration status if they are not a U.S. Citizen and send their child across the border illegally.
  2. If the parent or legal guardian is a lawful permanent resident of the United States, they will be ineligible for public benefits if they send their child across the border illegally.
    1. We define the term “public benefit” to include cash benefits for income maintenance, SNAP, most forms of Medicaid, Section 8 Housing Assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, and certain other forms of subsidized housing. The definition should be tailored the rule to limit its effects in certain ways, such as for active-duty military members and their families, and children in certain contexts.

U.S. Customs & Border Patrol has apprehended 80,867 migrant children in the past three months, but the Biden-Harris Administration has yet to articulate a clear plan for handling the children. In April, the administration released a report indicating that 60% of migrant children had been released to an adult who was not a family member. Last month, Congressman Gooden and several House Republicans sent a letter to the White House asking them to explain who exactly they gave these children to.

"The Biden border crisis has spiraled out of control due to the administration’s reckless policy decisions that incentivize illegal immigration while enriching human smugglers,” said Dan Stein, President, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). “Congressman Gooden’s FAIR-supported bill would help address this by eliminating incentives for parents to send unaccompanied alien children on a treacherous journey north with the sole purpose of joining them at a later time. We praise Congressman Gooden’s leadership on this issue and every one of his colleagues should co-sponsor.”

"Rep. Lance Gooden has taken an important step in repelling the unprecedented wave of illegal migration across our southern border,” said Hon. John Hostettler, Vice President, Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). “Parents of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) not only add to the overwhelming burden placed on our Border Patrol personnel and border communities, they unquestionably endanger the life and the health of their own offspring. This proposed legislation would be a strong deterrent.”

"Rep. Lance Gooden’s effort is a positive first step toward putting an end to President Biden’s destructive open-borders policies. Children should not be used as pawns, and making it clear to abusive parents in foreign countries that they will not be able to manipulate our immigration system for their own benefit by putting their children’s lives at risk needs to be done,” said John A. Zadrozny, Director for the Center for Homeland Security and Immigration, America First Policy Institute (AFPI). “Ending this ‘pull factor’ will not only dramatically reduce illegal immigration and strengthen our national security, but it will also prevent children from being smuggled, trafficked, and put in harm’s way in our hemisphere.”