Friday, December 12, 2008
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has expressed grave concern about the issuance of a Department of Justice final rule, effective January 9, 2009, that will have serious implications for people who are detained on possible immigration violations by forcing them to submit their DNA to federal officials. Charles H. Kuck, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Associated stated, "The stunning overreach of this new rule raises serious constitutional and privacy concerns. It casts civilly detained immigrants as criminals, requiring them to submit to DNA testing even in cases where there is no suggestion of any criminal violation." Recent high-profile cases of U.S. citizens mistakenly detained by immigration authorities highlight the likelihood that individuals who are lawfully present in the U.S. with no criminal history will be subjected under this new rule to DNA testing without their consent. Kuck noted that "this rule is overbroad and continues the Administration's unwarranted and counterproductive trend of treating civil immigration detainees like convicted criminals."