McCaul Introduces Legislation to Strengthen Penalties for Human Smuggling

Media Contact: April Ward (202) 226-8417

Today, U.S. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) introduced H.R. 4961, the “Human Smuggling Prevention Act of 2014” to establish enhanced penalties for those engaged in human smuggling, including the smuggling of unaccompanied minors.

Chairman McCaul: “We are facing an escalating national security and refugee crisis on our southern border. Parents are handing over their young children by the thousands to cartels who are profiting by smuggling these kids to the U.S. from Central America. These minors face a dangerous and sometimes life threatening journey where they are subjected to beatings, sexual assault, exploitation and the potential to be trafficked. This bill provides clear punishments for those involved in the smuggling of these children and enhances penalties for other smuggling related offenses. Deterring these criminals is an important step towards addressing this emergency on our border and my bill ensures smugglers face real consequences. I look forward to working with Chairman Goodlatte and other members to do all we can to ensure more innocent children are not preyed on by these cartels.”

H.R. 4961 strengthens penalties for human smugglers, and those who assist them, including a prison sentence of up to 20 years for those engaged in the smuggling of unaccompanied children. Explicit penalties are also designated for smugglers when the person being smuggled is injured, sexually assaulted, killed, extorted or held against his or her will. In addition, H.R. 4961enhances punishments for the bribery of government officials related to human smuggling.

Furthermore, the bill requires DHS to implement a strategy to deter, detect and interdict human smuggling along the borders of the United States.

Full text of H.R. 4961 is available HERE.