ACLU Comment on Forced DNA Collection Final Rule

March 6, 2020 10:00 am

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration today issued its final plan to begin forcibly taking DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of people, including asylum seekers, in immigration detention.

Below is comment from Naureen Shah, senior advocacy and policy counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union, in response:

“Congress should immediately prevent any taxpayer dollars from being used to fund this xenophobic program, which seeks to further dehumanize immigrants in detention and raises significant civil liberties and privacy concerns. Collecting the genetic blueprints of people in immigration detention doesn’t make us safer — it makes it easier for the government to attack immigrant communities, and brings us one step closer to the government knocking on all of our doors demanding our DNA under the same flawed justification that we may one day commit a crime.”

“Congress should also scrutinize the DHS pilot program on DNA collection that has already begun, including who has been forced to provide their DNA and how long the government insists on keeping it.”

The ACLU, over 35,000 ACLU supporters, and groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology urged the Department of Justice to abandon the plan in thousands of public comments filed in the Federal Register, warning that the plan raises significant privacy and civil liberties concerns.

An earlier ACLU op-ed on the plan is here:

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