The Trump administration has plans to begin taking mandatory DNA samples from people who cross the border illegally, or end up held in immigration detention. The genetic samples will be used in a federal criminal database, the Wall Street Journal and NBC News were among the first to report on Friday.
The new rule "will require immigration officers to collect cheek swabs from what could amount to hundreds of thousands of people a year."
Excerpt from NBC News:
In a notice published in the Federal Register, the government said gathering DNA from non-citizens in custody "could be essential to the detection and solution of crimes they may have committed or may commit in the United States" while awaiting deportation proceedings.
A Justice Department official said the failure to collect DNA from immigrants in custody "has allowed subjects accused of violent crimes, including homicide and sexual assault, to avoid detection even when they have been detained multiple times by CBP [Customs and Border Protection] or Immigration and Customs Enforcement."
The DNA material would be sent directly to the FBI to store in its Combined DNA Index System, known as CODIS. "It will not be used by the Department of Homeland Security" for border enforcement, an administration official said. The CODIS system is similar to the FBI's massive fingerprint database and is used to help identify suspects based on material recovered at crime scenes.
Since January, Customs and Border Protection agents have carried out a pilot program to collect DNA samples from some migrants apprehended in Detroit and at the Eagle Pass port of entry in southwest Texas.
U.S. to begin taking DNA samples from immigrants who enter the country illegally