Bill Analysis: DHS Blue Campaign Enhancement Act

The DHS Blue Campaign Enhancement Act, or S. 2989, is a bipartisan bill that would improve upon the already-established Blue Campaign, an effort within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that is designed to disseminate information about how to identify and prevent human trafficking. The bill would require DHS to establish a new Blue Campaign Advisory Board and to create web-based training guides for law enforcement officers around the country.

The bill was introduced in the House on April 22, 2021 by Representatives Peter Meijer (R-Michigan) and Lou Correa (D-California), and it passed the House on July 20. On October 18, the bill was introduced in the Senate by Senators Gary Peters (D-Michigan) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

Background

The Blue Campaign was established in 2010 with the goal of eradicating human trafficking, protecting vulnerable victims, and prosecuting traffickers. In the years since, the Blue Campaign has trained tens of thousands of state, local, and foreign law enforcement officers and airline employees to identify signs of human trafficking and take action to prevent it. The Blue Campaign is run with the cooperation of multiple agencies within DHS, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), with the goal of improving inter-agency cooperation regarding the combatting of human trafficking. The Blue Campaign has also partnered with multiple local and state agencies, such as the South Carolina Office of the Attorney General, to disseminate anti-human trafficking training materials and information.

Specifically, the DHS Blue Campaign Enhancement Act would:

  • Require DHS to establish web-based training programs to disseminate Blue Campaign materials to law enforcement officials around the country. These interactive trainings would build on already existing Blue Campaign materials by establishing a more formal system to train law enforcement officers and officials on Blue Campaign goals. The trainings would be made available for ten years following the passage of the bill to federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officials and others deemed appropriate.
  • Create a Blue Campaign Advisory Board to better coordinate anti-trafficking efforts across DHS. The Office of the Secretary would be tasked with creating an advisory board consisting of a single member from the following seven DHS organizations:
      • Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
      • Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
      • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
      • Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC)
      • United States Secret Service
      • Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
      • Privacy Office
  • Mandate consultation between the director of the Blue Campaign and the Advisory Board on anti-trafficking efforts and the development of Blue Campaign training materials. The board would be consulted on issues relating to trafficking recruitment tactics, the creation of effective human trafficking identification and deterrence materials, and collaborating with outside individuals or groups that can assist in identifying or preventing human trafficking.

Conclusion

The DHS Blue Campaign Enhancement Act is a notable attempt to reinforce and improve U.S. efforts in the fighting against human trafficking. It would help provide a centralized hub where multiple organizations within DHS can consider and coordinate their operations to stop human trafficking and protect its victims. The measures build on existing anti-trafficking efforts by providing additional training resources and focusing on effective information dissemination, with the ultimate goal of providing assistance to those most in need.

The National Immigration Forum would like to thank Joshua Rodriguez, Policy Intern, for his extensive work on this bill analysis.

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