DNA Testing at the Border for Family Confirmation

Migrant families get arrested at our border with Mexico on a daily basis. What has come to issue is that a large percentage of those families weren’t families at all. According to Time.com, a “staggering increase” has been seen in the number of adults traveling with minor children who aren’t their children. Over five days, rapid two hour DNA testing was performed on immigrant adults and children who arrived at the border of Mexico and the United States. Results revealed that 30% of those adults who arrived at the border with children were not the parents of the children who accompanied them. The children had been misrepresented as family members.

Initially, authorities and social organizations were confused. They were concerned that some of the children might be adopted children or step-children. In some cases, when adults were told that they would be required to submit to DNA testing, they freely admitted that the children with them were not their children. Time.com has reported that cases of fake children have increased by 315% from October 2017 to February pf 2018. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has reported that migrants are apparently taking advantage of laws that prohibit it from detaining migrant families for more than 20 days. The purported families are then set free.

The five days of testing operated as a pilot program in the Texas cities of McAllen and El Paso. The DHS will be evaluating the results of the program in determining whether it further DNA testing will be used in future border protection measures. The agency has not commented publicly on its intentions.

The American Civil Liberties Union has called the DNA collection program “an attempt by the government to intimidate and deter asylum seekers.” It called forced DNA collection “coercive and intrusive.” On the positive side, the DNA testing did verify many family relationships when the DHS was unable to do so.

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