The United States Government has made plans to collect the DNA of all undocumented migrants arrested after entering the nation by illegal means, said the officials on Wednesday.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is evolving a plan to take DNA samples from each of illegal immigrants and store it in a national database for criminal DNA profiles, it said.
While speaking to reporters on grounds of anonymity, the DHS Officials has said that the new policy would offer immigration and border control agents a wide-ranging picture of illegal migrants and detainee situation.
The collected DNA samples to be stored on the FBI’s CODIS DNA Database, which can also be used by others in law enforcement and beyond.
A DHS Official was quoted saying, “It does enhance our ability to further identify someone who has illegally entered the country,” adding that “it will assist other organizations as well in their identification ability.”
Officials continued that they were asked to take the DHA samples by rules about controlling arrest and suspected people that were issued by the Justice Department in 2006 and 2010, but were not been implemented.
They further claimed that the program to collect DNA samples was still being developed, as they didn’t yet have a data set for implementation.
The process of collecting and properly storing the DNA samples of illegal migrants has drawn criticism fro civil rights advocates.
American Civil Liberties Union’s Attorney Vera Eidelman has said that “forced DNA collection raises serious privacy and civil liberties concerns and lacks justification, especially when DHS is already using less intrusive identification methods like fingerprinting.”
Vera Eidelman continued, “This kind of mass collection also alters the purpose of DNA collection from one of criminal investigation to population surveillance, which is contrary to our basic notions of freedom and autonomy.”
Earlier in 2019, the US Border Patrol has started performing “rapid DNA” tests on undocumented migrants, who have crossed the border as family units to evaluate if the individuals were related and were not making fraudulent claims.
The latest program will collect much more genetic information than that program and will store it.
Another DHS Official has said that “this fundamentally different from rapid DNA,” adding that “this is a more-full scope DNA profile.”