Mohave County
May 2024
Volume 24 Issue 3

Nov 2023 | November 2023 | 0 comments

Biden Administration reinstates DNA testing at the border

November 2023 | 0 comments

November 2023

ARIZONA — The Biden Administration has ordered familial DNA testing to be reinstated at the US-Mexico border after calls for the reinstatement of testing at the US-Mexico border intensified in recent weeks, as concerns over child trafficking and fraudulent family claims continue to escalate. The Biden Administration’s decision to halt the testing in May of this year has been met with criticism from various officials and lawmakers who argue that the testing is crucial for border security and child protection.
San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond is among those urging the White House to reestablish familial DNA testing at the border. In a letter, Desmond highlighted the importance of DNA testing in catching “fraudulent families” — smugglers, cartel members, and desperate migrants claiming trafficked children as their own.
The familial DNA testing, initially introduced during the Trump era following a court order, had proven to be a vital tool in curbing human trafficking and identifying fraudulent family units attempting to cross the border. It exposed numerous cases where individuals, claiming to be parents, had no blood connection to the accompanying children.
The cessation of DNA testing was communicated through a memo to frontline Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents, indicating that the practice would cease later in the month it was issued. However, this cessation was exclusive to familial DNA testing, with other forms of DNA collection by the FBI continuing unaffected.
The decision to halt DNA testing coincided with the expiration of a vendor contract for DNA test kits. Despite the apparent logistical reason, the exact logic behind the cessation was not publicly disclosed, sparking speculation and concerns among officials and the public alike.
To remedy the situation, Rep. Lance Gooden of Texas has reintroduced legislation known as the Biometric Verification for Entry and Reconfirming Identification with Forensics (B-VERIFY) Act. The bill requires that biometric data, including DNA, be collected by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from all aliens apprehended by the three immigration agencies within DHS. The bill would also require the agencies to conduct more stringent background checks on individuals with whom unaccompanied alien children (UACs) are to be placed. Just as important, the B-VERIFY Act requires the collection of biometric data before the administering of any immigration benefit and permanently bars a parent or guardian who knowingly sends a child to cross the border illegally from adjusting their immigration status. The goal of the legislation is to help secure the border, discourage asylum fraud driven by mass illegal migration, and deter human trafficking.
Both the use of biometric data and the goal of the legislation (to deter child trafficking) should not be controversial. Airports utilize biometrics to rapidly check the identities of travelers during the immigration process, and many countries – including the United Kingdom and those in the European Union – use these objective measurements of physical characteristics.

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