CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Justice Dept Confirms Plan to Take DNA of Detainees for Database

From The federal government could add DNA from tens of thousands of immigration violators, captives in the war on terrorism and others accused but not convicted of federal offenses to the FBI's crime-fighting database under a plan being finalized by the Justice Department.

Erik Ablin, a Justice Department spokesman, confirmed the plan, which hasn't been publicly disclosed, and said details are expected to be completed soon.

Proponents of the plan, including U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio, say taking DNA from federal detainees would solve many crimes committed by illegal immigrants and make it easier to identify and track potential terrorists.

Opponents, such as Caroline Fredrickson, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington office, say such mass seizures of DNA violate privacy and do little to improve law enforcement.

Fredrickson says the law that defines federal detainees is so broad that it could apply to hikers stopped by park rangers or airline passengers selected for screening. Authorization for taking the DNA was included in a bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act that President Bush signed last year. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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