The Trump administration is planning to expand the collection of DNA from migrants who cross US borders, and to include the information in a massive criminal database operated by the FBI, the AP reports. The effort is separate from and much broader than the rapid DNA testing done on families at the US-Mexico border to help detect adults falsely posing as parents. Not much else is known yet about the increased testing, including its purpose and whether it would apply to children crossing alone or to asylum seekers. Two senior Homeland Security officials, speaking anonymously, said the Department of Justice was crafting new regulations and details were being discussed in a working group, but it’s not known when it would be implemented.
The collection comes after a huge increase in the number of people crossing the border, mostly Central American families. Officials have since said the numbers went down following crackdowns, changes on asylum, and agreements with Central American countries, but border officers and agents have voiced concern over the potential for criminals crossing while resources were stretched. The practice would allow the government to amass a trove of biometric data on migrants, raising major privacy concerns and questions on whether such data should be compelled even when a person is not suspected of a crime other than crossing the border illegally.
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