DNA and law enforcement
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Do you have an Ancestry.com or 23andMe account?
If so, you know it can evince a web of close and distant relatives you never knew you had.
Using DNA gleaned from saliva samples, test kits break down people's nationalities by percentage, offering an interesting insight into their origins and backgrounds.
But as exciting and enlightening as that can be, everything holds the potential for abuse.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is taking advantage of DNA testing technology to identify migrants posing as families in order to gain entry to the United States at seven locations along the U.S./Mexico Southern border.
Although voluntary, documents released earlier this year suggest families are more likely to be separated if they refuse.
And of course, private corporations are being awarded contracts to carry them out.
Last month, ICE awarded a 10-month $5.2 million contract to Bode Cellmark Forensics Inc. for equipment and supplies.
ICE conducted a three-day pilot program in May in which it tested 84 families.
According to the ICE website:
"Of those tested, 16 family units were identified as fraudulent, and the adults involved in the fraud may face criminal charges related to: identity and benefit fraud, alien smuggling, human trafficking and child exploitation."
Between mid-April and June 14, ICE identified approximately 275 families deemed fraudulent, uncovered 735 fraudulent documents or claims, and referred to the Department of Justice (DOJ) 553 individuals for prosecution.
102 families were administered testing last week. Of those, 85 were found to have a familial connection, 17 showed up negative, and 16 were sent to be prosecuted.
ICE claims the DNA test is not stored or shared.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) deputy executive associate director, Matthew Allen, said:
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