Bill Barr will be authorized to collect DNA from detained migrants via proposed rule change

According to a Monday announcement by the Justice Department, the Trump administration law enforcement branch will be proposing a rule that would once again extend Attorney General Bill Barr’s authority to “authorize and direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to collect DNA samples from the non-United States persons it detains,” Fox News reported.

The DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005, which was a bipartisan achievement at the time, initially allowed the information to be gathered, because it was questioned by those concerned for the safety of would-be immigrants.

“This past August, Fox News exclusively reported that a top government watchdog alerted President Trump and Congress that Customs and Border Protection (CBP), through a ‘disturbing’ pattern of misconduct, had endangered the public for nearly a decade by failing to comply with the law,” Fox News reported.

When the proposed rule was announced on Monday, the DOJ lauded it as a major step for law enforcement, saying that DHS would ensure that any federal official or agency was compliant with federal law.

“The proposed rule change would help to save lives and bring criminals to justice by restoring the authority of the Attorney General to authorize and direct the collection of DNA from non-United States persons detained at the border and the interior by DHS, with the ultimate goal of reducing victimization of innocent citizens,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen said in a statement.

“Today’s proposed rule change is a lawful exercise of the Attorney General’s authority, provided by Congress, to collect DNA samples from non-United States persons who are properly detained under the authority of the United States,” Rosen added.

During August The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) said in a letter to Trump that CBP’s “noncompliance with the law has allowed subjects subsequently accused of violent crimes, including homicide and sexual assault, to elude detection even when detained multiple times by CBP or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).”

Previously, CBP was required to collect DNA from every person in its custody to run it against the FBI’s violent-crimes database, however, that collection was separate from the one which was used to establish familial relationships among migrants.

Written by Savannah Pointer.

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