Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘DNA Screening’

27th February 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Department of Homeland Security may soon be utilizing a portable DNA screener which can establish kinship via DNA comparison in a relatively quick span of time. To quote directly from the website Nextgov.com (a site dedicated to providing information about the confluence of technology and government):

[P]lans to begin testing a DNA analyzer that’s small enough to be easily portable and fast enough to return results in less than an hour.

The analyzer, about the size of a laser printer, initially will be used to determine kinship among refugees and asylum seekers. It also could help establish whether foreigners giving children up for adoption are their parents or other relatives, and help combat child smuggling and human trafficking, said Christopher Miles, biometrics program manager in the DHS Office of Science and Technology.

The administration of this web log highly recommends that readers click on the links above to read this interesting article in its entirety.

This technology could have some remarkably positive implications. For example, as noted above, the ability to quickly determine a genetic link between two individuals could expedite the processing of requests for American immigration benefits such as asylum or conferral of refugee status. Moreover, such technology could be tremendously useful in adjudications pertaining to issuance of a Certificate of Citizenship or Consular Report of Birth Abroad. Also, technology such as this could truly be useful in combating problems such as human trafficking (hopefully with particular emphasis upon trafficking in children). This being said, There are some eerily Orwellian aspects to technology such as this. To continue quoting from the above cited article on Nextgov.com:

Eventually, the analyzer also could be used to positively identify criminals, illegal immigrants, missing persons and mass casualty victims, he said.

The implications for so-called “criminals,” (a term often applied loosely by law enforcement personnel) could be serious. Usage of technology such as that noted above, when utilized against American Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents in matters which could have an impact upon individual civil liberties, needs to comport with the protections guaranteed to individuals under the United States Constitution and enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

Some may ponder: “Why does this blogger take issue with technology such as that noted above when utilized against US Citizens, while being less concerned for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers?” The short answer: prospective immigrants outside of the United States have virtually no “rights”. Those seeking immigration benefits are seeking just that: BENEFITS. While American Citizens and those already admitted to the United States in Lawful Permanent Resident status (or another lawful visa status) are guaranteed certain protections from governmental intrusion.

Widespread usage of this technology has yet to be implemented, but one thing is clear: technology is revolutionizing all aspects of the US Immigration process.

For related information please see: DHS Iris Scanners.

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