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Democrats concerned about program to collect DNA from detained immigrants at US borders

Members of Congress send letter to DHS

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 09: A U.S. Customs and Border Protection patch on the uniform of Rodolfo Karisch, Rio Grande Valley sector chief patrol agent for the U.S. Border Patrol, as he testifies during a U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on migration on the Southern U.S Border on April 9, 2019 in Washington, DC. During the hearing, lawmakers questioned witnesses about child mentions, minor reunification, and illegal drug seizures on the Southern Border. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 09: A U.S. Customs and Border Protection patch on the uniform of Rodolfo Karisch, Rio Grande Valley sector chief patrol agent for the U.S. Border Patrol, as he testifies during a U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on migration on the Southern U.S Border on April 9, 2019 in Washington, DC. During the hearing, lawmakers questioned witnesses about child mentions, minor reunification, and illegal drug seizures on the Southern Border. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images) (2019 Getty Images)


WASHINGTON – On Monday, Congresswomen Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) sent a letter to acting US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and US Attorney General William Barr expressing deep concern over a DHS program to sample and build a DNA database of detained immigrants at US borders.

The DNA collection is being conducted by US Customs and Border Protections and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Earlier this year, CBP announced a 90 day pilot program for DNA collection of immigrants would take place at the Border Patrol Sector in Detroit and the Port of Entry in Eagle Pass, Texas.

“The implementation of this pilot has raised many concerns with several of our colleagues and many in our districts, as constituents pass through the northern and southern borders frequently with several having already been subjected to this effort. There are also major concerns with future plans to expand this DNA collection program nation-wide as it raises serious privacy and ethical concerns,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.

The full letter is available here.