President Donald Trump and his administration have found a way to stop illegal immigrants from using kids as pawns to get into the United States.
Starting “as early as next week” federal immigration officials are going to start conducting 90 minute DNA tests to see if the adults and kids are related, The Washington Examiner reported.
The official said Immigration and Customs Enforcement will start a trial with the 90-minute DNA tests at unspecified locations on the southern border in an effort to verify familial claims and refer for prosecution adults who try to use an unrelated child to take advantage of U.S. policy.
ICE told the Examiner it has seen 29 verified fake families, each with an unrelated child and adult, since April 18. Forty-five cases were referred for prosecution for fraud and the U.S. attorney’s offices accepted 33 of those referrals. The agency hopes the pilot will allow them to increase the number of cases referred to the Justice Department.
The debut marks the first time DNA testing of any sort has been at the border. Currently, ICE and Customs and Border Protection employees must use verbal statements and written documents to verify family connections.
“We’ve never done anything like this before,” the DHS official said.
The Examiner reported last month that Homeland Security and ICE were looking at adopting ANDE, an automated system that processes cheek swabs and other DNA, to verify familial relations.
Annette Mattern, spokeswoman for the company, told the Examiner the upside to relying on science is that it cannot make a biased or flawed decision, unlike with human error.
“Identifying an individual at the border today probably requires an officer to say, ‘I don’t know if this is their kid or not their kid,’” he said. “DNA doesn’t have to make those judgments. It’s just science.”
“All of the DNA is destroyed within the machines,” the Homeland Security official said. “It’s not hooked up to any government systems.”
“We’re looking at all the investigative tools available. This is something that we’re trying out,” they said.
They said “there is “no silver bullet” for this type of immigration work. “Agents will have to continue relying on their training and experience.”
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