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Trump aims to collect all migrants’ DNA for FBI criminal database

The effort is separate from and much broader than the rapid DNA testing done on families at the U.S.-Mexico border to help detect adults falsely posing as parents, according to the Associated Press.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is preparing a regulation to cover the expanded collection of DNA, and apparently, the nitty-gritty details are still being worked out between the DOJ and Department of Homeland Security, according to NBC News.

Speaking to journalists on grounds of anonymity, two senior DHS Security officials said during a news teleconference the new policy would give immigration and border control agents a broader picture of the migrant and detainee situation. The officials said the rule would be a “DHS-wide effort,” meaning it would cover migrants in the custody of Customs and Border Protection, as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Central American migrants look through a border fence as a US Border Patrol agent stands guard near ...

Central American migrants look through a border fence as a US Border Patrol agent stands guard near Tijuana, Mexico: people who cross the border illegally will have their DNA collected by US officials in the future
GUILLERMO ARIAS, AFP/File


This DNA information would then be transferred to the FBI’s criminal justice DNA database, the Combined DNA Index System, known as CODIS, an official said. As for who, if anyone, would be exempt from this procedure, the agencies are still working that out. But, the officials say this new program will be in a much broader scope than what they had been doing with families and children.

“This is a completely different path forward,” one official said. “This is a broader population that we’re applying to,” the official said. “This is more of the fuller-scope DNA profile that we’re taking in order to be able to help identify a person.”

The official added, “It will assist other organizations as well in their identification ability.” And that should raise alarm bells for privacy advocates and others. And getting samples of DNA from people not tried or convicted of a crime should draw criticism from civil rights groups.

American Civil Liberties Union attorney Vera Eidelman, said: “It’s not surprising, given this administration’s fixation on villainizing folks at the border, but it reaches beyond them.” This means the Trump administration is taking DNA collection from one of criminal investigation to population surveillance – and that is scary.

Without a doubt, this latest Trump administration rule will be met with a slew of lawsuits.

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We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend Karen Graham, who served as Editor-at-Large at Digital Journal. She was 78 years old. Karen's view of what is happening in our world was colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in humankind's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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