US government plans to collect new data from immigrants
The Trump administration plans to collect DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of people who enter the federal immigration service every year. The results will be entered into the national database of criminal cases.
Senior officials said the Department of Justice is drafting a federal decree that will allow immigration officials to collect DNA material in places of detention throughout the country.
This step will send thousands of new data to the FBI DNA database, which has only genetic markers of people arrested or convicted of serious crimes.
Calls for immigrant DNA samples have been around for a long time. Their main goal is to help identify criminals who were previously in custody, but due to some circumstances were free.
In 2005, Congress passed a law permitting the collection of DNA data, but at the time an amendment was made that protects immigrants from collecting data.
A national security official said in a conversation with reporters that the amendment is outdated and it is time to repeal it.
Immigrants and lawyers are concerned about this move in relation to the privacy of an already vulnerable population. The new rules will allow the government to collect DNA data from children, as well as those seeking legal asylum.
On the subject: Political Asylum in the Trump era
Lawyers have warned that United States citizens, who occasionally accidentally end up in an immigrant detention center, will also have to take a DNA test.
“Such a massive collection changes the goal of collecting DNA from a criminal investigation mainly to surveillance of the population, which contradicts our basic ideas of a free, trusting, autonomous society,” said lawyer Vera Adelman.
She added that since the genetic material contains information about family relationships, data collection will affect not only immigrants in custody, but also members of their families, who may be US citizens or legal residents.
National security officials said the new initiative is allowed under the 2005 Year Fingerprint and DNA Act.
The new program will provide a complete DNA profile of people, and the results will be shared with other law enforcement agencies.
After taking the DNA samples, they will be entered into the strictly regulated national database of the FBI. The combined DNA index system, known as CODIS, is used by state and law enforcement agencies to identify suspected offenders. On the bureau’s website, the system is touted as a “tool for linking violent crimes.”
On the subject: What you need to know, applying for asylum in the US
By providing the FBI and other law enforcement agencies with the DNA of detained immigrants, federal authorities engage in ethical debate about the use of DNA in criminal investigations.
The new measure has been taken amid the wider efforts of the Trump administration to criminalize unauthorized border crossings, even when people enter the country legally.
Crossing the border without documents and trying to escape from the border authorities is an offense.
President Trump has often tried to connect all immigrants with crime, regardless of their legal status. This occurred despite a significant body of research that showed immigrants were less likely to commit crimesthan citizens.
National security officials who discussed the new initiative said immigration agents will be trained to properly collect data while respecting the right to privacy of immigrants.
Although the Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional right to privacy in the United States applies to everyone, regardless of their immigration status. A more rigorous interpretation of the fourth amendment was applied within the boundaries of the stylish zone, where even American citizens were allowed to be searched.
Trump administration officials have not provided a timetable for the introduction of the new rules, but will try to do so as soon as possible.
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