The Trump administration will begin collecting DNA samples from some migrants in US Customs and Border Protection custody as part of a pilot program, something it says will allow the agency to be in compliance with an upcoming regulation change.
In October, the Department of Justice proposed eliminating the ability of Homeland Security to limit its DNA collections, prompting the pilot program. It’s the latest attempt by the Department of Homeland Security to expand DNA collection.
The DNA database allows federal, state and local forensic laboratories to exchange and compare DNA profiles electronically in an attempt to link crimes to known offenders.
The Department of Homeland Security has been operating under exceptions put in place a decade ago. In 2010, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano requested an exemption for DNA collection from the DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005, including for migrants in custody who weren’t facing criminal charges or those pending deportation proceedings, citing a lack of agency resources at the time to gather DNA.
The 90-day pilot will be implemented by US Border Patrol in the Detroit region, as well as at the Eagle Pass port of entry in southwest Texas, the agency said.
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