A proposal from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), published on Friday for expand biometric data collection of immigrants, is “contrary to our fundamental belief in the dignity of the person and the sanctity of the family,” he said. Anna Gallagher, Director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC).
The proposal gives the public 30 days to analyze and comment on the rule., which covers 328 pages, and which if applied will affect many types of immigration applications, including asylum, family ties and employment immigration, visas for members of religious groups, and programs that Congress has created to help survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking.
Gallagher called the proposal “Orwellian,” in a reference to the novel 1984 by George Orwell, and added that it is a “manual with detailed instructions for government data collection and an approach to our democracy.”
Under this proposal the government will collect, and keep in its archives “possibly forever deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), iris scans of the eye and faces, voices and other personal characteristics,” he added.
“Even survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence, including minors, will have to comply with the requirement or they will not be able to obtain the protection of the law”Gallagher said. “The reading of this proposal is chilling.”
Under the proposal, the government could at any time request new biometric data from immigrants who have received benefits, such as a green card or a work permit, to guarantee the continuity of the “background investigation” until the immigrants convert. in US citizens.
The proposal directly affects immigrants who make requests through the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), and also seeks to expand the amount of biometric data taken from immigrants who carry out processes such as adjustment of status, family petitions and application for employment authorization, among others.
“This proposed rule removes any ambiguity around the use of biometric data by the Department, establishing clear standards on how and why we collect and use this information,” said last week, in a statement, the undersecretary of Homeland Security, Ken cuccinelli.
For her part, Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, said in a message on Twitter that the proposal “is one of the most disturbing policies of this Administration.”
The immigration attorney warned that the proposal “would subject tens of millions of non-citizens to be called at any time by USCIS agents for a biometric examination” which he described as “invasive.”
The move is part of the agency’s efforts to keep up with “technological developments” and allow its officials to easily identify immigrants as part of the government’s policy to prevent fraud in the immigration system.
The proposal would remove the age limit for the collection of this information, allowing the federal government to obtain biometric data from immigrants under the age of 14.
The Administration argues that this expansion in data collection helps immigrants and those involved in their petitions to have a more convenient verification of their identity.
“Taking advantage of the technology available to verify the identity of a person we are evaluating is from a responsible government. Collecting biometric information also protects against identity theft and frustrates scammers who are not who they say they are “, defended Cuccinelli.
This is not the first time that the government of the president Donald trump tries to collect DNA samples from immigrants.
Last March the Administration gave its final approval to a rule to store DNA samples from undocumented immigrants, a controversial measure that was already being applied at the border through a pilot program implemented since the beginning of the year.
On January 6, the Border Patrol began collecting DNA samples from anyone in its custody who was fingerprinted, and it does so by using swabs that are passed down the inside of the cheeks, according to a official DHS document.