The Trump Administration has recently declared that immigration officials detaining migrants who cross the border illegally may also retrieve DNA samples from these individuals. Their DNA would then be stored in an FBI DNA database known as CODIS (Combined DNA Index System), which has been traditionally used by law-enforcing agencies to identify suspects for serious criminal offenses. CODIS was established in 1990 for law enforcement purposes and has been a “key tool for linking violent crimes” since its creation, according to the FBI.
It is unclear if this will apply to children who cross alone or asylum seekers as well. However, this shift in DNA collection changes the scope from criminal investigations to population surveillance.
Under the Administration’s interpretation of the DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005, this is legal. The DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005 permits states to take samples from individuals convicted of state offenses, especially if individuals are arrested or detained under US Authority.
This is not quite the same as when the Trump Administration DNA tested families in detention to prevent adult migrants from claiming kids who were not theirs. As this is essentially, population surveillance and p measures operating under the guise that illegal migrants are inherently prone to criminal behavior.
- The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
- The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
- FWD.us: an organization that aims to promote the tech community to support policies that keep the American Dream alive. They specifically and currently focus on immigration reform.
Photo by Arif Wahid