The Trump Administration Will Soon Start DNA Testing Families At The Border
Next week, the Department of Homeland Security will launch a DNA testing pilot program at the US-Mexico border to spot and prosecute people who are posing as family members in an effort to crackdown on human smuggling, CNN reports.
During the program, which will last for two to three days at two border locations, officials will use Rapid DNA Testing. The process requires a cheek swab and can provide results in 90 minutes.
While the department said neither they nor any other federal agency would store the information gained from the tests, they did say that it would be used to prosecute those who are posing as relatives.
“This is part of a larger investigative process. This is not screenings, this is not just random application of this, this is a pilot designed to assess the usefulness of this technology in an investigative process,” ICE acting Deputy Director Derek Benner told the news outlet.
DHS has previously suspected that migrant children were being exploited by traffickers to evade US immigration laws. Currently, the government can’t hold children in detention facilities for more than 20 days, which has led to them and their parents — or, as the DHS suspects, people posing as their relatives — release until their immigration court hearing.
“It’s very clear that the cartels and smugglers know the weaknesses in our laws,” acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan said after a recent visit to the Texas border. “They know that family units and unaccompanied children will be released with no consequences for their illegal entry.”
In the past year, immigration officials said nearly 3,100 people lied about being a child’s relative or falsely claimed someone who was above the age of 18 years was a minor. That number, however, accounts for 1 percent of the 256,821 families that were apprehended at the US-Mexico border in that time frame.
This is the Trump administration’s latest effort against asylum-seekers at the southern border.
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