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Immigration: Will detainees have to submit DNA?

Immigrant families in New Jersey and across the country may want to stay updated on a developing story regarding the federal government. More specifically, there may be upcoming changes to U.S. immigration law that include required DNA submission for those being held in detention. Many immigrant advocates have already decried that such a move would invade the privacy of tens of thousands of people.

If implemented, the policy would involve taking cheek swab samples from certain immigrants. The data collected would then be entered into a national database. In 2005, a law was enacted that directed collection of biometric information among people convicted of serious crimes and also undocumented immigrants.

Officials say the new policy regarding DNA collection would bring immigration officials into better compliance with the 2005 law. Many people believe the current administration wishes to collect DNA in order to assess who might be most likely to commit a crime in the future. Immigrant advocates say that many of the hundreds of thousands of people who would have to submit to DNA collection have never been charged with a crime, as well as many people who entered the country as asylum seekers.

It remains to be seen whether new immigration policies will take hold in the near future. In the meantime, any New Jersey resident currently facing legal status problems can seek assistance by requesting a meeting with an experienced attorney. An attorney well-versed in such issues can help determine a best course of action according to the circumstances of an individual situation.

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