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Against the Plan

The proposed plan to collect DNA samples from migrants detained at the US border means treating migrants like criminals, Sara Katsanis from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine writes in an opinion piece at The Hill.

In October, the Trump Administration announced that it planned to collect DNA samples from individuals in federal immigration custody and add them to the national FBI crime database, CODIS. This plan, the Associated Press noted at the time of its announcement, is broader than and differs from another effort that is using rapid DNA testing at the border to identify individuals traveling together who might be posing as families.

In her opinion piece, Katsanis argues that this broader initiative would "creat[e] a surveillance database of one sect of the American population" and would lead law enforcement databases to further over represent individuals from minority groups.

"If the goal is to grow the database by collecting DNA from innocent people to solve crimes, then a universal DNA database of all Americans and visitors would be far more equitable," she writes.

But "[i]f we as Americans are uncomfortable with a universal DNA database, then let us instead embrace our tired, poor, and yearning fellow humans and return to solving crimes through our competent police investigations, rather than through broadening DNA data acquisitions," Katsanis adds.