Reps. Tlaib, Castro, and Escobar Call on DHS to End DNA Collection from Detained Immigrants

Jan 21, 2020

WASHINGTON—Today, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), and Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) sent a letter to acting U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf calling on the agency to end collection of DNA from detained immigrants currently being conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Plans to collect DNA at both the Detroit Sector and Eagle Pass Port of Entry in southwestern Texas as part of a 90-day pilot program were announced by CBP in a January 6 press release.

The letter comes a week after the pilot program officially began at those respective sites.

“We believe that the forced collection of DNA samples from families and individuals detained at our borders is a serious human rights issue,” the lawmakers said in the letter. “DHS makes it clear that, at the end of the pilot, individuals could be subject to DNA testing solely because they have entered the U.S. without documentation. This policy reinforces the xenophobic myth that undocumented immigrants are more likely to commit crimes than U.S.-born individuals.”

A PDF of the full letter can be viewed here.


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