‘Wasteful expenditure of money’: Senator blasts plan to collect DNA from migrants

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration says it plans to start collecting DNA from any migrant crossing the border illegally.

Some say the policy could put a burden on border patrol officers and question whether it’s legal. The Justice Department says starting soon, any migrant caught crossing the border illegally will have a sample of their DNA taken, even if they aren’t charged with a crime.

Some, like Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are pushing back, saying the policy is misguided. “It’s a wasteful expenditure of money,” Brown said. “Our focus should be on people who are violent, not putting walls up and spending ten or twenty or thirty billion dollars for walls and who knows how much money for DNA samples.”

The DNA collected would go into a national FBI database currently used to track criminals. The policy won’t apply to those crossing legally or under the age of 14.

“In 2005, Congress authorized the collection of this type of data,” said Mike Howell with the Heritage Foundation. Howell is an immigration policy attorney. He says the policy is legal and will keep U.S. citizens safe by identifying immigrants who break the law.

“It’s hard to argue against trying to prevent crimes,” said Howell.

Critics warn this policy would put one more responsibility on border patrol officers, who some say are already overburdened. It’s also expected to be expensive.

A pilot program, expected to start later this year, will help determine how much such a program will cost.

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