Things That Matter

Here’s Why Advocates Are Concerned About The US Using DNA To Reunite Families Separated At The Border

The government is facing strict deadlines to reunite families that have been separated at the border. On June 27, Federal Judge Dana M. Sabraw in San Diego ordered that all families had to be reunited by July 27 if they were older than 5. Children younger than that were supposed to be reunited with their families by July 10. The Trump administration already failed with the younger children, only reunite four children with their families by the deadline. So how exactly do they plan to reunite the rest of the separated families? The use of DNA.

The Trump Administration wants to test the DNA of children and parents in order to make sure that kids are going to the right families.

“The safety and security is paramount, and it is not uncommon for children to be trafficked or smuggled by those claiming to be parents,” a federal official said to CNN. “To our knowledge, this is a cheek swab and is being done to expedite parental verification and ensuring reunification with verified parents due to child welfare concerns.”

However, some say getting the DNA of undocumented immigrants is unethical for a variety of reasons.

Some dispute the need and urgency of gathering DNA in this type of way. While officials say it’s to prevent human trafficking, others fear it’s just another way for the government to store data on undocumented immigrants for other uses. For example, what will be done with the DNA that is gathered, will it be stored or used for another use of data information, and will this data affect the chances of undocumented immigrants trying to become U.S. citizens in the future?

“This is a further demonstration of administration’s incompetence and admission of guilt. This further drives home the point we’ve been saying: They never registered parents and children properly,” RAICES communications director Jennifer K. Falcon said to CNN.

The main concern is how officials plan to get consent about acquiring DNA from a child if the parent cannot give permission.

Usually, parents need to give permission if and when they allow their child’s DNA to be tested. However, in this case, the DNA is being used to prove parental relations so no one is giving consent to the DNA collection of these minors.

We have to confirm that these are in fact their parents and we have to confirm they’re appropriate people to be having custody of these children,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, according to New York magazine. “We’re doing DNA testing on everybody who claims to be a parent of one of our children to confirm that.”

Some undocumented immigrants allege that other types of blood testing has already occurred.

“I was told (by my clients) that ‘men in blue military uniforms’ were performing and ordering the blood and saliva tests,” Sophia Gregg, an immigration lawyer at Legal Aid Justice, told CNN.

Advocates for the migrants are concerned that the collection of the DNA will lead to broad surveillance of the people. According to CNN, the use of DNA to reunite families is unprecedented in this situation and advocates do not support the decision.


READ: Trump Administration Claims Babies Separated From Families Are Being Held In ‘Tender Age’ Shelters

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Biden Is Counting On Mexico’s President To Help With Immigration But That’s A Risky Move

Things That Matter

Biden Is Counting On Mexico’s President To Help With Immigration But That’s A Risky Move

One of the stranger things to happen during the Trump presidency was the unlikely alliance between Trump and Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). The former frequently spoke disparaging of Mexicans and pursued cruel and inhumane immigration policies that directly targeted the constituents of the latter. Yet AMLO was a major supporter of Trump’s most severe immigration policies and, in fact, helped bring them to fruition.

Now, with a new president in the White House, AMLO is being asked again to recalibrate his approach to immigration but having once been a major ally of Trump, how will he work alongside a President Biden?

Presidents Biden and AMLO host a virtual meeting to discuss a wide range of topics.

President Biden is hoping that Mexico’s President AMLO can help him avert another crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. However, given AMLO’s close alliance with Trump and support of his harsh immigration policies, Biden may face an uphill battle.

But as the administration faces an uptick in migrants attempting to cross into the U.S., Biden is hoping that AMLO can become a partner in preventing another cycle of out-of-control migration from Central America. The Mexican president appeared open to collaboration, issuing a joint statement committing to address climate change, the pandemic and migration north.

Their first head to head meeting comes after a rocky start for the two leaders. Mexico’s President was one of the last leaders in the world to congratulate Biden on his election victory, with many saying AMLO fears a Biden administration as potentially more interested in pressuring Mexico on its own domestic matters.

President AMLO was a key player in Trump’s harsh and inhumane immigration tactics.

Despite his racist rhetoric directly targeting Mexicans and his cruel and hardline immigration policies that largely shifted the pressure to Mexico, AMLO largely accepted Trump’s worst policies with little resistance.

As migrant caravans formed in Central America and attempted to make their way to the U.S. passing through Mexico, AMLO unleashed his newly formed Guardia Nacional to stop them in their tracks. His agents arrested and deported thousands of migrants back to their home countries, often using tear gas and other extreme tactics to do so.

And President AMLO said nothing as Trump implemented the “Remain in Mexico” policy which forced thousands of refugees and asylum seekers to await their claims on the Mexican side of the border, amid a global health pandemic, shifting the burden to Mexican officials.

Biden looks to continue many of Trump’s policies.

Although Biden campaigned against Trump’s harsh immigration policies, the president wants many of the same things from AMLO that Trump asked for: help in keeping Central American migrants from immediately surging north toward the United States through Mexico. And although Biden declared he would break sharply with Trump on immigration, he’s only abandoned some of his predecessors policies.

The Biden administration has formed a task force to unite parents separated from their children Trump’s family separations policy. He’s also begun welcoming back a limited number of asylum seekers who were exposed to violence and kidnappings in dangerous areas of Mexico under a Trump-era program. But the Biden administration has kept in place a separate Trump policy that empowers agents to rapidly expel new arrivals at the border to Mexican authorities as Biden hopes to avoid a crisis that challenged his predecessors.

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An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

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An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

For years, Mexicans have been taking to the streets to denounce violence against women and to demand accountability from their leaders. However, much of that messaging doesn’t seem to have reached the very top as President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) continues to support a candidate for governor facing multiple allegations of sexual assault.

A candidate for governor faces multiple sexual assault allegations and still enjoys widespread support.

Félix Salgado Macedonio, a federal senator (currently on leave) is accused of sexually assaulting five women and yet is still in the running for governor of Guerrero.

Despite the accusations he faces, 64-year-old Salgado, has maintained the support of President AMLO, who has claimed that the allegations are politically motivated, and other high-ranking party officials including national party president Mario Delgado. He was considered the frontrunner in the election for governor.

AMLO came to the candidates defense, calling on people to stop politicking and avoid “media lynchings” and asserting that people should trust the party process that was used to select Salgado as candidate.

“We have to have confidence in the people, it’s the people who decide. If polls are taken and and the people say ‘I agree with this colleague [being candidate],’ I think that must be respected. Politics is a matter for everyone, not just the elites,” López Obrador said.

The MORENA party has committed to reselecting its candidate for governor but Salgado is still in the running.

Officials from the MORENA party announced that they would conduct a new selection process to find a contender for the June 6 election. The party’s honesty and justice commission said its members had voted unanimously to order a repeat of the selection process.

While the honesty and justice commission has ordered a new candidate selection process, Salgado was not precluded from participating in it. He indicated in a social media post on Friday night that he planned to seek the party’s backing for a second time.

“Cheer up colleagues! There is [still fight in the] bull,” Salgado wrote on Facebook.

Activists continue to fight back against his candidacy and the president’s support for an alleged rapist.

Women have protested in Mexico City and Guerrero state capital Chilpancingo and the hashtag #NingúnVioladorSeráGobernador (No Rapist Will be Governor) has been used countless times on Twitter.

Yolitzin Jaimes, a member of the feminist collective Las Revueltas, said the withdrawal of Salgado’s candidacy is a positive first step but urged the authorities to continue investigating the rape allegations.

“… He has to go to jail, … he mustn’t return to the Senate and he mustn’t be nominated [for governor] by any political party because … it’s very probable that he’s seeking to go to the Labor Party [a Morena ally],” she said.

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