[News] US Gov't To Allow Systematic DNA Samples on Arrested Migrants

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Oct 22 11:39:28 EDT 2019


  US Gov't To Allow Systematic DNA Samples on Arrested Migrants

Published 21 October 2019

The United States government released a plan Monday proposing to take 
systematic DNA samples from migrants detained by U.S. authorities, 
raising important privacy concerns especially for asylum-seekers and 
minor offenders whose genetic information would go into an FBI database.

The rule proposes collecting DNA samples from any migrant "detained 
under the authority of the United States," which could include 
first-time border crossers whose offense is a misdemeanor.

In addition, U.S. President Donald Trump has long linked his racist 
anti-migration policies to crime-fighting, even though multiple studies 
show migrants commit less crime than native-born people. Trump's 
migration aide Stephen Miller has claimed that DNA collection could help 
detect fraud and solve cold criminal cases.

Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union have raised privacy 
and civil liberties concerns, including that the samples can reveal 
information about relatives of the detained. The ACLU also said the rule 
changes the purpose of DNA collection from criminal investigation to 
surveillance of the population.

"This proposed change in policy is extraordinary in its breadth and 
transparent with its xenophobic goals," the ACLU's senior advocacy and 
policy counsel Naureen Shah said in a statement.

"It seeks to miscast these individuals, many of whom are seeking a 
better life or safety, as threats to the country's security. And it 
turns immigration detention, which is supposed to be civil and not 
punitive, into a proxy to strip these individuals of their privacy 
rights," Shah added.

The rule would create exceptions for foreigners being processed for 
legal entry to the U.S., which could include asylum-seekers who apply at 
a legal port of entry but might not include those who cross the border 
without documented and apply for asylum upon being detained.

So far, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was running 
the pilot program "Operation Double Helix," officially supposed to 
determine family ties between children and parents in custody. However, 
the new program would obtain a "fuller scope" DNA profile of migrants, 
according to the Department of Homeland Security.

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