The Justice Department is proposing to begin collecting DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of immigrants crossing the border, creating an enormous database of asylum-seekers and other migrants that federal officials say will be used to help authorities fight crime.
Attorney General William Barr issued the rule, which is set to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday [October 22], with the expectation that federal authorities will gather DNA information on about 748,000 immigrants annually, including asylum-seekers presenting themselves at legal ports of entries.
In the proposed regulation, Barr describes the DNA sample as a “genetic fingerprint” that can uniquely identify a person, “but they do not disclose the individual’s traits, disorders, or dispositions.”
But already, immigrant advocates have denounced the proposal, arguing that collecting genetic information form those crossing the border could have implications for family members residing in the U.S.
The Trump administration says a massive database of biometric information on migrants will lead to more crimes being solved. But immigrant advocates counter that the initiative demonizes migrants, and they point to multiple studies showing that increasing the flow of undocumented immigrants does not create a spike in violent crime.
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