Administration considers next steps in DNA testing on the border

Posted Thursday, 16 May 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)The Department of Homeland Security is considering next steps in DNA testing on the southern border, following a pilot program that concluded last week. DHS ran the DNA pilot program to help identify and prosecute individuals posing as families in an effort to target human smuggling. The Rapid DNA testing, as it's known, involves a cheek swab and can, on average, provide results in about 90 minutes. "We're continuing to analyze the results of the DNA, analyze where we think it'd be appropriate in the processing line," said Alysa Erichs, acting executive associate director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.ICE has briefed acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan on the DNA testing, Erichs said. Before the DNA pilot program, ICE Homeland Security Investigations personnel had been deployed to the border in April to investigate human smuggling and the use of fraudulent documents to "create fake families." There are now 130 Homeland Security Investigations personnel at the border. As of Friday, Homeland Security Investigations teams, which consist of agents and specialists, had interviewed 562 families who presented some indication of fraud. Homeland Security Investigations identified 95 fraudulent families through interviews and 176 fraudulent families through fake documents.The prospect of an interview or, more recently, a DNA test has led some migrants posing as families to concede that they are not related, Erichs said. In cases where migrants have conceded that they have no familial connection, ICE has referred the adults for criminal prosecution and turned over the minors to the care of the Health and Human Services Department. Earlier this month, Border Patrol agents apprehended a Honduran man crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico into Texas with a 6-month-old baby, according to a complaint in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Homeland Security Investigations interviewed the man, Amilcar Guiza-Reyes, after finding that he was using fraudulent documents,the complaint says, and he conceded that the child was not his. The use of infants to pass as a family is uncommon, Erichs said.While the results of the Rapid DNA testing pilot program are still being reviewed, Erichs said some fake families had been identified and others were determined to have familial connections.DHS -- faced with an influx of migrants, many of whom are families, at the southern border -- has sounded the alarm over an uptick in migrants presenting as families. According to the department, there was a 315% increase "in the number of cases of adults with minors fraudulently posing as 'family units' to gain entry" from October 2017 to February 2018."Cases of 'fake families' are popping up everywhere. And children are being used as pawns," then-Homeland Secretary Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a speech in March. She also said DHS had uncovered "child recycling rings," in which children were used repeatedly in an attempt tobereleased in the US.The sharp rise in family apprehensions, in particular, has overwhelmed the department. Since December 21, ICE has released more than 177,000 families into the United States, according to the agency.Amid the swell of migrants, ICE is weighing how DNA testing will be used, if at all. "For all the purposes to protect the children, that's where our mindset is on this," Erichs said, referring to the DNA testing, "that we should continue to look at where it could or would be deployed and utilized. I can't see of an instance to say where it was a failure."

Other articles published by CNN

Posted Thursday, 22 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Quentin Tarantino may need to learn to keep it rated G around his home now that he and his wife Daniella are expecting their first child."Daniella and Quentin Tarantino are very delighted to announce that they are expecting a baby," the couple said...

Posted Thursday, 22 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)The New Zealand Parliament invited a special guest onto the chamber floor Wednesday -- a newborn baby.The country's parliamentary speaker Trevor Mallard held and fed the one-month-old son of lawmaker Tāmati Coffey while presiding over a...

Posted Thursday, 22 August 2019 ‐ CNN

Washington (CNN)Something is eating at President Donald Trump.Another exhausting day of the indefatigable commander in chief's compulsive seizing of the spotlight showed how what once would have been considered outrageous has become Washington...

Posted Thursday, 22 August 2019 ‐ CNN

Michael Dowling is president and chief executive officer of Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider and employer. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.In the weeks following the 2018 Parkland, Florida, school...

Posted Thursday, 22 August 2019 ‐ CNN

New York (CNN Business)Tom Bergeron isn't the only person who's unhappy about the casting of Sean Spicer on "Dancing With the Stars."Some staffers at ABC News are "up in arms," as one source put it, over the decision by ABC's entertainment division.The...

Posted Thursday, 22 August 2019 ‐ CNN

Hong Kong (CNN Business)Asian markets were mixed Thursday as investors digested a slew of corporate earnings.Japan's Nikkei 225 (N225) rose 0.1%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index (HSI) fell 0.5%. China's Shanghai Composite Index...

Posted Thursday, 22 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)A deputy was wounded Wednesday when a possible sniper took aim at the Lancaster station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, authorities said. The deputy was in the parking lot when the shooter fired, hitting him in the chest, ...

Posted Thursday, 22 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday that he had spoken with a Ukrainian official about Joe Biden's possible role in that government's dismissal of a prosecutor who investigated Biden's son.The move shows the former New York mayor is making a renewed push...

Posted Thursday, 22 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Dale Earnhardt Jr. is only mostly retired, so he doesn't plan to miss driving at one of his favorite tracks when NASCAR goes to Darlington Raceway in South Carolina next weekend. Earnhardt, who was in a plane crash last week along with his wife,...

Posted Thursday, 22 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)A former Yale psychiatry professor sexually assaulted five students and engaged in other sexual misconduct, according to an independent report released by the university.Eugene Redmond, who was on the faculty for 44 years, is accused of misconduct...

Posted Thursday, 22 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)When the El Paso Walmart where 22 people were killed reopens in three to four months, the renovated property will have a memorial to the shooting victims, a company spokesman said Wednesday.The memorial is in the early planning stages and the...

Posted Thursday, 22 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday announced he is suspending his presidential campaign.Inslee made the announcement during an interview on MSNBC.The Washingtonian made combating climate change the fundamental issue motivating his...

Posted Thursday, 22 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)There's been a change in President Donald Trump. He used to say he had accomplished more than any other President, a debatable claim. But now he's using messianic language about himself."I'm the chosen one," he said Wednesday about what he claims is ...

Posted Thursday, 22 August 2019 ‐ CNN

Frida Ghitis, a former CNN producer and correspondent, is a world affairs columnist. She is a frequent opinion contributor to CNN, a contributing columnist to the Washington Post and a columnist for World Politics Review. Follow her on Twitter...

Posted Thursday, 22 August 2019 ‐ CNN

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump made at least 11 false claims Wednesday while speaking with reporters for more than half an hour before leaving the White House for a speech and fundraiser in Kentucky.Two of the false claims were about Greenland,...