The Department of Justice on Friday issued a final rule that allows the Department of Homeland Security to begin collecting DNA samples from its arrestee and detainee populations of certain non-U.S. citizens for processing through an FBI database.
The rule implements a 2005 law, the bipartisan DNA Fingerprint Act, which gives the Attorney General the authority to direct federal agencies to collect DNA samples from individuals that have been arrested or convicted or from non-U.S. persons detained under U.S. authority. A 2008 rule exempted DHS from obtaining DNA samples from non-U.S. citizens it detains.
The DoJ last October announced a proposed rule making for the DNA collection. Since then, DHS and the DoJ have been working together on a pilot program to collect DNS from non-U.S. persons detained by DHS.
The DoJ said that the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, better known as CODIS, can handle the increased processing throughput from DHS sample collections. The FBI will also provide DHS with the DNA collection kits.
The DNA sample collection from detainees is different from the evaluations of Rapid DNA technology that DHS has used at some southwest border locations to combat immigration fraud. For the Rapid DNA evaluations, Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have used desktop systems that allow for relatively quick—less than two hours—processing to identify fraudulently claimed familial relationships among border-crossers.
The success of the Rapid DNA evaluations led ICE to issue a solicitation in February to acquire and deploy the technology for use at 11 locations on the southwest border where the influx of illegal aliens is prevalent. The planned acquisition is a small business set-aside.