USA to collect DNA of immigrant detainees

The US Department of Homeland Security is developing a regulation that will facilitate the collection of DNA of detained immigrants. The move is aimed at collating information on criminals with other law enforcement databases. It is expected to help identify persons who have previously been in immigration custody to other law enforcement agencies.

The New York Times reports that a pilot programme was carried out in the South West Border to identify what were termed as fraudulent family units, where adults used children who were not their own to get protections offered to families. The full programme is expected to undertake comprehensive DNA tests and enter them into the FBI’s national DNA database.

Immigration rights activists are opposing the programme, terming it as mass surveillance. They also warn that US citizens who are mistakenly detained, as well as asylum seekers would be viewed as criminals, once their DNA data was collected in the criminal records database.