U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced the launch of a pilot program to collect DNA samples from some individuals in their custody. The pilot program will operate in two locations: the Detroit Sector and the Eagle Pass Port of Entry in southwestern Texas. Over 90 days, CBP officials will collect DNA from detainees in Detroit between the ages of 14 and 79. In Texas, CBP will collect DNA from immigrants who present themselves at the port of entry for consideration of admissibility and who will face further detention proceedings.
The pilot program aims to measure the operational impact of the DNA sample collection. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has proposed a regulatory amendment that requires the collection of DNA samples from immigrants and the submission of those samples to the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Specifically, the DOJ regulation would require CBP officials to collect DNA samples from any individuals, including U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, who are:
- Facing criminal charges
- Convicted of crimes
- Detained under federal authority, including immigrants in CBP custody
The existing regulation regarding the collection of DNA samples exempts some immigrants from the requirement. The exigent circumstances under which immigrants sometimes are detained, and a lack of resources led to this historical exemption. If enacted, this regulation would allow the U.S. Attorney General to order all federal agencies, including CBP, to collect DNA samples.
From a practical perspective, the FBI Laboratory will provide Buccal Collections Kits to both CBP and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These immigration officials will collect DNA from eligible individuals through a buccal cell cheek swab and forward the samples to the lab for processing and inclusion in CODIS.
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.