WASHINGTON—Yesterday, the House passed yet another amendment introduced by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s (MI-13), in partnership with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), to the Defense, Commerce, Justice, Science, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services and General Government, Homeland Security, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Act (H.R. 7617). The amendment would prohibit funds from being used to implement, administer, or enforce a rule by the Department of Justice (DOJ) forcing DNA collection by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from immigrant detainees.
Prior to the March publication of the DOJ rule, a pilot program to collect DNA from immigrant detainees was launched in January. In Congresswoman Tlaib’s home city of Detroit, immigrant detainees as young as 14 were subject to DNA collection in the program.
“The forced collection of DNA from our immigrant neighbors is a blatant attempt to criminalize them, creating a permanent law enforcement record for those who have may never been accused or convicted of a crime, and we must stop it,” Congresswoman Tlaib said. “The passage of this amendment is a stand against the xenophobia of this impeached President and his administration and yet another accomplishment toward undoing the harm he has inflicted on so many in our country and around the world.”
“The Trump administration’s forcible collection of DNA from immigrants is just the latest in a string of dehumanizing policies,” Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez said. “Whether placing children in cages, or creating a DNA registry of people who have never even been accused of a crime, ICE has proven time and again that it should be defunded and abolished. I’m proud to join my colleague, Rep. Tlaib, in supporting this amendment.”
Congresswoman Tlaib took to the House floor to thank both Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee’s Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) Subcommittee Rep. José E. Serrano (NY-15) for their efforts on the amendment and urge her colleagues to support it. It’s an effort that builds upon Congresswoman Tlaib’s previous work to end DNA collection from detained immigrants: a letter she sent in January, along with Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), and Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16), to acting U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf calling on the agency to end DNA collection from immigrant detainees.
The full text of the amendment can be found here.