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U.S. collection of DNA at Canada, Mexico borders ‘hugely problematic

U.S. collection of DNA at Canada, Mexico borders ‘hugely problematic

The United States’ decision to pilot a project to collect DNA from people in immigration custody at Canadian and Mexican border crossings is raising privacy concerns.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the 90-day project Monday in a memo, saying it will begin in Texas and Michigan, but the plan is to expand it nationally.

U.S. Customs and Border protection will collect swabs from people apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol at the Canadian border in or near Detroit, as well as people detained at the official port of entry at Eagle Pass, Texas, across from Piedras Negras, Mexico.

In Detroit, people as young as 14 will be subject to DNA collection.

The memo explained U.S. citizens and permanent residents holding a “green card” who are detained could be subject to DNA testing, as well as asylum seekers and people entering the country without authorization. Refusing to submit DNA could lead to a misdemeanour criminal charge, the document said.