The Biden Administration is planning to end familial DNA testing at the U.S.-Mexico border, a key tool used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to prevent the fraudulent entry of migrants posing as family units and mitigate child trafficking, according to leaked memo obtained by Just The News.
DNA testing was a measure initially implemented in the Trump-era “following a court order related to the separation of migrant children from their families and evidence drug cartels were using children to create fake family units to sneak illegal immigrants across the border,” Just The News reported.
“[CBP’s] familial DNA contract with BODE Technologies will end on May 31, 2023, and all familial DNA testing will conclude on that date,” the leaked memo reads.
The memo also states that separate DNA testing programs done by the FBI through the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) will continue uninterrupted.
CBP has conducted its DNA tests through a contract with Bode Technologies, which in 2020 was awarded a potential five-year, $17.3 million contract for Rapid DNA testing systems by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).
This contract was an extension to an initial 10-month, $5.2 million contract awarded to Bode in 2019 after the success of the pilot Rapid DNA testing program and an influx of illegal aliens at 11 locations on the southwest border.
In 2019, ICE used DNA testing on 84 family units suspected of fraud over the span of 3 days, and identified 16 families as fraudulent.
Between April and June of 2019, ICE was able to identify approximately 275 fraudulent families.
ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Executive Director Derek Benner outlined the two primary goals of the DNA testing initiative in a 2019 press release.
“First, to protect children from being smuggled across the border by ensuring they are with their parents and not being used as pawns by individuals attempting to exploit immigration loopholes,” Benner said. “Second, to identify and stop the criminal organizations that are generating false documents and supporting child smuggling.”
“It is clear on-site DNA testing has a strong deterrent effect, as HSI agents witnessed multiple instances of individuals confessing to faux families prior to being tested as well,” Benner
Though single adults remains the largest proportion of individuals encountered at the southwest land border at 67 percent, the number of purported family units stopped at the border is increasing.
According to the CBP’s April 2023 Monthly Operation Update, Border Patrol agents encountered 58,964 family unit individuals in April, up 28 percent from March.
14 percent of those family unit individuals were expelled under Title 42, a COVID-era measure which expired on May 11.