DHS Tests DNA at Southern Border

Credit: kontekbrothers

(Español) In the past weeks, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has begun testing a DNA program in order to identify individuals posing as families. With the Rapid DNA testing, officials can take a cheek swab and typically obtain results in 90 minutes, according to a senior official with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These results were used to help identify legitimate familial units of migrants attempting to seek asylum by crossing the southern US border. According to officials familiar with the situation, they are doing the Rapid DNA testing in order to cut down on human trafficking and exploitation of children from those attempting to abuse the laws of the US in order to gain access and release into the interior of the country. Under current law, the government cannot hold children detained for more than 20 days. This often leads to families, or those claiming to be families, being released. This is what the president often refers to as the “catch-and-release” program. Officials claim they have seen an uptick in people abusing the system and even going as far as “reusing” the same children with different people in order to gain access into the US. This is in response to the massive upswing of families, and those posing as families, appearing at the southern border. Officials have attempted to use available technology at their disposal in order to identify and rescue children who are being used to abuse the system. In addition to the Rapid DNA testing, officials have begun taking fingerprints for children under 14, whereas previously only those over the age of 14 would have their fingerprints taken. It remains to be seen what happens to those children who are found to be abused in the system. Additionally, there is no update on whether the program will move out of its initial testing phase and move on to a wider implementation.