ICE Now Employing A Private Contractor To Conduct DNA Testing (Video)

Do you have an or 23andMe account?

If so, you know it can evince a web of close and distant relatives you never knew you had.

Using DNA gleaned from saliva samples, test kits break down people’s nationalities by percentage, offering an interesting insight into their origins and backgrounds.

But as exciting and enlightening as that can be, everything holds the potential for abuse.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is taking advantage of DNA testing technology to identify migrants posing as families in order to gain entry to the United States at seven locations along the U.S./Mexico Southern border.

Although voluntary, documents released earlier this year suggest families are more likely to be separated if they refuse.

And of course, a private corporation is being awarded a contract to carry them out.

Last month, ICE awarded a 10-month $5.2 million contract to Bode Cellmark Forensics Inc. for equipment and supplies.

ICE conducted a three-day pilot program in May in which it tested 84 families.

According to the ICE website:

“Of those tested, 16 family units were identified as fraudulent, and the adults involved in the fraud may face criminal charges related to: identity and benefit fraud, alien smuggling, human trafficking and child exploitation.”

Between mid-April and June 14, ICE identified approximately 275 families deemed fraudulent, uncovered 735 fraudulent documents or claims, and referred to the Department of Justice (DOJ) 553 individuals for prosecution.

102 families were administered testing last week. Of those, 85 were found to have a familial connection, 17 showed up negative, and 16 were sent to be prosecuted.

ICE claims the DNA test is not stored or shared.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) deputy executive associate director, Matthew Allen, said:

“The funding that we have will give us the money to do tens of thousands of tests by the end of the fiscal year.”

This is not the first instance of ICE mining people’s private data.

According to Georgetown Law experts who obtained government files through records requests, ICE authorities have been mining without warrants or subpoenas millions of Utah, New York, Vermont, and Washington drivers’ license photos for possible facial recognition matches in an attempt to ensnare undocumented immigrants.

Law enforcement, ICE, and the FBI performed nearly 2,000 database facial-recognition searches of the more than five million DMV state ID photos in just Utah alone, according to a Washington Post analysis.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) stated at a hearing last month:

“They’ve just given access to that to the FBI. No individual signed off on that when they renewed their driver’s license, got their driver’s licenses. They didn’t sign any waiver saying, ‘Oh, it’s okay to turn my information, my photo, over to the FBI.’ No elected officials voted for that to happen.”

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), expressing concern over “unfettered access” to facial-recognition data, said:

“No one should have to be thrown into a giant federal facial-recognition surveillance database merely as a condition of driving a car. States that have given federal agencies, including ICE, unfettered access to these records should warn their citizens this is occurring and ensure federal agencies only access these records based on legitimate, narrowly tailored requests.”

Now this is being exposed, some municipalities are banning the use of facial recognition surveillance technology.

In May, San Francisco, Calif. became the first to do so.

This is just the latest example of government overreach ICE is guilty of committing.

Since the earliest days of the Trump administration, ICE has rounded up immigrants for minor offenses.

In Queens, NY, ICE even went so far as stalking immigrants in human trafficking court, something City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said is “a new low in moral depravity.”

So New York did something about it.

ICE is now no longer permitted to arrest immigrants inside New York courthouses without producing federal judicial warrants or orders.

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Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to The Left Place blog on Substack, and Medium.