APNEWSBREAK: US TAKES STEP TO REQUIRE ASYLUM-SEEKERS’ DNA
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is planning to collect DNA samples from asylum-seekers and other migrants detained by immigration officials and will add the information to a massive FBI database used by law enforcement hunting for criminals, a Justice Department official said.
The Justice Department will publish an amended regulation Monday that would mandate DNA collection for almost all migrants who cross between official entry points and are held even temporarily, according to the official. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the regulation had not yet been published.
The rule does not apply to legal permanent residents, or anyone entering the U.S. legally. Children under 14 are exempt. It’s not clear yet whether asylum-seekers who come through official crossings will be exempt.
Homeland Security officials gave a broad outline of the plan to expand DNA collection at the border two weeks ago, but it was not clear then whether asylum-seekers would be included, or when it would begin.
The new policy would allow the government to amass a trove of biometric data on hundreds of thousands of migrants, raising major privacy concerns and questions about whether such data should be compelled even when a person is not suspected of a crime other than crossing the border illegally. Civil rights groups already have expressed concerns that data could be misused, and the new policy is likely to lead to legal action.
Justice officials hope to have a pilot program in place shortly after the 20-day comment period ends and expand from there, the official said. The new regulations are effective Monday, after the regulation is published.