Trump Wants To Force Immigrants To Submit Eye Scans, Voice Prints, And DNA

The Trump administration has drafted a proposal that would dramatically expand the number of people required to provide biometrics for their immigration applications, while also increasing the personal information the government can demand, such as eye scans, voice prints, DNA, and photographs for facial recognition.

According to parts of a draft policy obtained by BuzzFeed News, the government would be allowed to request biometrics from immigrants who have received some benefit, like a green card or work permit, at any point up until they are a US citizen to ensure continuous “vetting.”

If implemented, the draft rule would represent a massive shift in the Department of Homeland Security’s collection of personal information from immigrants and US citizens and will likely cause concern among privacy and immigrant advocates.

“It is stunning,” said Ur Jaddou, a former senior US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) official. “They’re using what is overly general language in the law to justify a massive, unprecedented expansion to collect really personal information that they appear to plan to keep and use in perpetuity. What is the reason for this? What is the problem they are trying to solve?”

The Department of Homeland Security declined to comment. But in a statement, confirmed that it planned to publish a finalized version of the policy for public review. The proposed rule “improves the screening and vetting process and reduces our dependence on paper documents and biographic information to prove identity and familial relationships,” the DHS added.

“This proposed rule eliminates any ambiguity surrounding the Department’s use of biometrics, setting clear standards for how and why we collect and use this information,” acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli said in the statement. “Leveraging readily available technology to verify the identity of an individual we are screening is responsible governing. The collection of biometric information also guards against identity theft and thwarts fraudsters who are not who they claim to be.”

But Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, said the regulation was “in line with what this administration has wanted to do to — increase ‘extreme vetting’ of immigrants coming through — but it is possible to go too far and to do vetting that is unnecessary. This is 10 steps too far.”

The additional biometrics proposed by the administration, according to the draft regulation, could also help immigrants and those involved with their petitions more convenient verification of their identity. At the same time, it will work toward the Trump administration’s vows to crack down on alleged fraud in the immigration system.

Andrea Flores, deputy director of immigration policy for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement that “collecting a massive database of genetic blueprints won’t make us safer — it will simply make it easier for the government to surveil and target our communities and to bring us closer to a dystopian nightmare.”

“Trump’s goal is clear: to shut down the legal immigration system and make immigration as difficult as possible,” she added.

The draft proposal would directly affect applications taken by USCIS, which processes green cards and visas for family members, high-skilled workers, refugees, and asylum-seekers, among others, as well as employment authorization documents.

The policy cites statutory authority that allows the DHS to require collection of biometrics from any individual involved with an immigration benefit and claims the expansion of collection would help bolster the government’s ability to accurately identify individuals…

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Hamed Aleaziz