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MCALLEN, TEXAS - JULY 02: A U.S. Border Patrol medic treats an immigrant for heat exhaustion after taking her into custody on July 02, 2019 in McAllen, Texas. The immigrants, mostly families from Central America, turned themselves into border agents after rafting across the Rio Grande from Mexico to seek political asylum in the United States. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
MCALLEN, TEXAS - JULY 02: A U.S. Border Patrol medic treats an immigrant for heat exhaustion after taking her into custody on July 02, 2019 in McAllen, Texas. The immigrants, mostly families from Central America, turned themselves into border agents…

The U.S. government will begin conducting DNA tests on detained immigrants

The Trump administration continues its efforts against the migrant population.

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The Department of Homeland Security announced that it plans to begin testing DNA for immigrants to enter their genetic information into an FBI criminal database. The proposed regulation could affect hundreds of thousands of people in detention centers across the country, according to The New York Times.

With this maneuver, the Administration intends to increase the use of technology to enforce immigration laws, such as they did last summer in a pilot program executed on the U.S. - Mexico border.

In that first control attempt, they used fast DNA technology to process samples in less than 90 minutes.

The measure would derive the new records to the FBI, whose extensive DNA database has been limited to the collection of genetic information – such as arrests, convictions, etc

For several years now, it has been mandatory to request DNA samples of the migrants to help identify criminals who have previously been in immigration custody. 

In 2005, Congress passed the Fingerprint Law authorizing an extensive collection of DNA data; however, they granted an exemption to protected immigrants as a vulnerable population.

This new process of DNA collection is another step of the Trump Administration to threaten the community, criminalizing undocumented migrants, even if they have applied for asylum. 

This new measure could also affect U.S. citizens who are forced to take DNA tests, according to The Verge.

Why DNA?

DNA is genetic information that can determine the likelihood of a person contracting certain diseases or family connections. 

This information is valuable in many cases; for example, for insurance companies that need to calculate the cost of medical care. But it can also be used to discriminate against citizens who apply for jobs, mortgages, or loans that, due to health problems, can become a high risk for a bank or an insurer.

By providing the FBI and other law enforcement forces with DNA information, the authorities would be entering into an ethical debate about the use of genetic information in criminal investigations. 

While such sampling has been crucial to ensuring thousands of prosecutions in recent decades, it has also generated controversy due to the possibility of misappropriation in the data policy.

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