The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that effective April 8, 2020, they will give immigration officers the authority to collect DNA from detained immigrants in detention facilities across the country and enter their results into a national criminal database. First announced in October 2019, the DNA collection rule will require immigration officers to collect cheek swabs from what could amount to hundreds of thousands of people a year. Potentially hundreds of thousands of annual DNA collections by cheek swabs that will include children and asylum-seekers at legal ports of entry will be stored in a federal criminal database managed by the FBI known as the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS.
Chicago immigration attorney Mario Godoy says DHS, new DNA collection rule to take a sample from detained immigrants is a serious civil rights and privacy violation:
“The government is moving to take private, sensitive information from people who have not committed a crime. This information can be misused by the government and is counter to our American values of privacy and freedom.”
The Trump administration initiated a rapid DNA test program at the U.S. southern border last spring to deter migrant adults from using children to temporarily stay in the United States. DHS officials can request cheek swabs for DNA testing now from a minor and an adult arriving together at the southern border if the agents suspect the pair are not actually related.
The immigration attorneys at Godoy Law Office fight for the rights of immigrants in Illinois and help immigrants navigate the complex and numerous immigration policies, procedures, and regulations. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office at 855.554.6369. Godoy Law Office serves the Chicago, Illinois area including DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, and Lake Counties.