According to a recent report from The Hill, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is seeking to establish rapid DNA testing at seven border locations under the guise of a project dubbed “Operation Double Helix 2.0.” The purpose of the testing ostensibly is to identify immigrants who are falsely claiming to have family relationships when they enter or attempt to enter the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claims that immigrants sometimes pose as fake families to engage in human smuggling operations or to attain release in the U.S. more quickly. ICE intends to utilize a private company to carry out the cheek swab testing, which should be completed in 90 minutes or less. The test results allegedly will help Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents identify immigrants who are violating the law.
ICE declined to identify the seven locations in which they intend to launch the investigation, stating only that these areas have an influx of immigrants. However, the project did list California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico as potential “testing” locations. ICE also added that the project locations might change over time.
The initial project will involve the administration of 50,000 tests, with an additional 50,000 tests administered during option period one, if ICE chooses to exercise that option. Before seeking bids from contractors for Operation Double Helix 2.0, DHS operated a pilot DNA testing program in May 2019 to identify and prosecute false claims of family relationships between immigrants. Through the pilot program, HSI interviewed 561 families whose situation had indicators of fraud. Interviews yielded 95 fraudulent families, whereas the discovery of fake documents revealed another 176 fraudulent families. The adults were referred for criminal prosecution, and the children placed in the custody of Health and Human Services Department.
An experienced Texas immigration attorney can help you with all aspects of immigration law. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case and present your options. Finally, we can help you make the decisions that will be most beneficial to you, based on your circumstances. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 399-2311 today and see how we can help.