President Donald Trump's administration launched a pilot program on Monday that would allow the government to collect DNA from people held in immigration custody. That DNA would then be sent to a criminal database within the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
U.S. citizens, permanent legal residents, asylum seekers, and those apprehended at the border would all be subject to sampling and refusal would be grounds for a misdemeanor charge. Children as young as 14 would be subject to DNA collection.
The administration cites the DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005, which allows for DNA collection from anyone "arrested or detained" by the U.S. government. That Republican-sponsored bill removed provisions from the DNA Identification Act of 1994 that protected those not charged with a crime from mandatory DNA testing.
The Trump administration's program was laid out in a memo from the Department of Homeland Security, which details information on how the program will be implemented.
The FBI will provide DNA testing kits to a limited number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in the Laredo, TX and Detroit, MI areas to gauge the resources needed for expansion on a national scale.
The Trump administration says the goal of the program is to reduce crime and flag potential traffickers, but others fear the program's impact will be far more insidious.
In addition to targeting those apprehended at the southern border, the initial pilot program will be tested on the northern border at a location near Detroit. People think they know why.
The policy sounds like the dream of presidential advisor Stephen Miller, one of the most influential white supremacists in the White House.