Homeland Security proposes expanded biometric collection, including DNA for family relationships

Homeland Security proposes expanded biometric collection, including DNA for family relationships

Originally Published in CNN

Geneva Sands - September 2, 2020

In this July 20, 2016, file photo, a fingerprint is enlarged for examination in the Latent Print Lab at the US Homeland Security Investigation Forensic Laboratory in Tysons Corner, Virginia.

In this July 20, 2016, file photo, a fingerprint is enlarged for examination in the Latent Print Lab at the US Homeland Security Investigation Forensic Laboratory in Tysons Corner, Virginia.

Washington (CNN)The Department of Homeland Security is planning to expand its use of biometric data for immigration purposes, as well as increase its use of DNA to verify family relationships.

In an announcement this week, the department said it expects to imminently publish a proposed rule to establish the new protocols for biometric data use, which will allow it to use new technologies as they become available.
The proposal would give DHS the authority to require biometrics for every application, petition or related immigration request, according to a DHS official who spoke to reporters Wednesday. Currently, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the DHS agency responsible for managing immigration benefits, requires biometrics only for applications that require background checks, the official added.
The Trump administration has made vetting a cornerstone of its immigration policy; during his 2016 presidential campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump promoted "extreme vetting" of immigrants. This is also the latest administration move to increase the use of DNA testing. Last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement began using DNA testing at several locations along the southern border to identify individuals as families.

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