MORGAN ZEGERS: Biden admin to stop DNA testing 'families' at border crossings despite its use to detect child sex trafficking

A leaked memo exposes the federal government’s plan to end familial DNA testing at the United States’ southern border, a policy implemented to deter child trafficking.

In 2019, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began using DNA testing to determine whether or not familial claims made by immigrants were accurate or fraudulent. Not every family unit — loosely defined as a parent with a child — was tested. When Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents suspected that adults claiming to be the parents of young children were fraudulent, agents would refer the family to ICE for testing to confirm that the children were not in fact being trafficked.

During a one-month period in 2019, ICE officials identified 101 possible instances of fake familial claims, one-third of which were determined to be fraudulent, according to the Associated Press (AP). Within the first half of fiscal year 2019 ICE officials “say they have uncovered more than 1,000 cases and referred 45 cases for prosecution” according to the AP. “The fraud could also include the use of false birth certificates or documents, and adults accused of fraud aren’t necessarily prosecuted for it; some are prosecuted for illegal entry or other crimes.”

Before the new policy was put in place, the Department of Homeland Security warned border officials about a trafficking scheme dubbed “child recycling.” At the time, immigration policy largely favored family units above individuals illegally crossing the US southern border, and would allow them to stay in the country while their asylum claims were processed.

This created an incentive for human smugglers to “rent” children, even infants, out to border crossers to give them a better chance at disappearing into the interior of the United States. Once they had served their purpose, the children would then be smuggled back into Central America, where they would be rented out for service once again.

These mass-trafficking operations led ICE to implement DNA testing, which would soon apprehend large sums of adults trafficking children across the border. During the pilot period of the program, it was discovered that 15 percent of families apprehended at the border had made fraudulent claims.

Government agencies obtained DNA testing results through a contract with BODE Technologies, which the leaked memo asserted would be concluded.

The leaked memo, obtained by Just the News, states “The U.S. Customs and Border Protection familial DNA contract with BODE Technologies will end on May 31, 2023, and all familial DNA testing will conclude on that date.” It clarifies that “Familial DNA collection and testing is separate from FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations) booking DNA collection and the end of the BODE contract does not impact collections as part of the CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) program which should continue uninterrupted.”

According to the Western Journal, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan told the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2019 that smugglers believe “a child is a passport to migration in the United States.”

Critics argue that the move to end familial DNA testing will create a surge in child trafficking along the southern border at a time with record-high illegal immigration.

This piece first appeared on TPUSA.

Image: Title: mexican trafficking
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