Within hours of taking office in January 2021, Joe Biden reversed many of Donald Trump's policies, such as the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline, the withdrawal from the Paris Agreements and the construction of the border wall, among many others. Within the latter group was the DNA collection program for migrant families in order to verify their identities and make sure they were really related.
Just over two years later, Jim Desmond, San Diego County Supervisor, wrote a letter to the president asking him to restart the latter initiative. He shared the notice he sent to the government on his social media.
"Today, I sent a letter to the Federal Government and President urging them to reimplement DNA testing, accompanied by severe penalties for adults who resist compliance. This is a rational and morally imperative step toward dismantling the vile practice of using children for criminal purposes," he wrote on his X account, formerly known as Twitter.
The recent termination of DNA family testing by the Biden Administration is a distressing decision that puts innocent lives at risk and undermines our commitment to combating the heinous crimes of human trafficking and child exploitation.
The reports of individuals fraudulently…
— Supervisor Jim Desmond (@jim_desmond) September 5, 2023
"The reports of individuals fraudulently claiming children as their own and subsequently separating them from their true guardians are harrowing and unacceptable. This inhumane practice must be brought to an immediate halt through the reinstatement of DNA testing," the official added.
According to The Washington Post, during the month of August, there was an increase in border agents' encounters with migrant families, setting a record.
What is the point of collecting DNA from migrant families?
"DNA testing is intended to prevent fraudulent claims by migrants who attempt to claim to be part of a family unit when they arrive at the southern border. Authorities cannot detain migrant families for longer than 20 days because of U.S. immigration laws, resulting in migrants’ release before their asylum claims can be adjudicated. This practice, which is typically referred to as ‘catch and release’, has prompted many migrants to bring unrelated children and infants along with them on the dangerous journey to the border," The Daily Caller reported in 2019.
A pilot program that was previously conducted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) found that 16 of the 84 families analyzed were not truly related. In addition, a similar initiative studied 522 families and determined that 79 of them were fraudulent.