The Trump administration is planning to collect DNA samples from asylum-seekers, and other migrants detained by immigration officials, according to an Associated Press (AP) report.
Quoting a Justice Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity, the news agency said the information will be added to a massive FBI database used by law enforcement hunting for criminals.
The Justice Department on Monday issued amended regulations that would mandate DNA collection for almost all migrants who cross between official entry points and are held even temporarily, AP stated.
The official said the rules would not apply to legal permanent residents or anyone entering the US legally, and children under 14 are exempt, but it’s unclear whether asylum-seekers who come through official crossings will be exempt.
According to NBC 6, Trump administration officials say they hope to solve more crimes committed by immigrants through the increased collection of DNA from a group that can often slip through the cracks.
Currently, officials collect DNA on a much more limited basis — when a migrant is prosecuted in federal court for a criminal offense. That includes illegal crossing, a charge that has affected mostly single adults. Those accompanied by children generally aren’t prosecuted because children can’t be detained, the US Television network reported.
However BuzzFeed News says advocates for immigrants and civil liberties argue that the government should not draw sensitive personal information from people who are not tied to a specific crime.