DHS officials said Wednesday that the DOJ is writing a regulation to allow immigration officials to collect DNA from people in detention centers. The goal is to then input that information into the FBI’s criminal database, which has been limited so far to mostly those arrested, charged, or convicted of a serious crime. DNA collection has been used for limited purposes along the border already, but not for every detainee. Congress passed a law allowing broad DNA collection in 2005, but that law has an exemption for immigration detainees. If the exemption is removed, the federal government will be able to collect DNA from all immigration detainees, including children and asylum seekers. Privacy advocates warn that this could affect U.S. citizens who are mistakenly detained by ICE, and that this kind of “mass collection” changes the purpose of DNA collection from investigation of crimes to “population surveillance.” 

– Weekly Immigration Briefing by Olivia Hester, Immigration Law Analyst at Docketwise

Posted in: Immigration