Don’t Create DNA Database of Detained Immigrants

Target: Chad Wolf, United States Secretary of Homeland Security

Goal: Do not invade the privacy of detained immigrants by collecting invasive samples of their DNA.

A plan to collect DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of detained immigrants has been announced by the Department of Homeland Security in accordance with the Trump administration. Many civil and human rights organizations and activists claim that the plan is a crude invasion of privacy and perpetuates the false criminalization of immigrants.

If the program takes effect, it will allow the collection of genetic material from an estimated 743,000 immigrants annually, some as young as 14. Those who refuse to take part can be charged with a federal misdemeanor. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol announced a pilot project in January to collect DNA from migrants held in Detroit and Eagle Pass, Texas. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a separate pilot project to collect material from those in custody as well. The DNA will be stored in an FBI database and could be used to identify a variety of personal information.

This law perpetuates xenophobic rhetoric by stereotyping all immigrants as criminals. Many detainees are not in detention centers because they attempted to cross illegally and most have not committed a crime at all. Many were put into detention after asking to apply for asylum at the border, some have overstayed their visa that they obtained legally, and others are undocumented and intend to fight for asylum in court.

This project is a sick violation of privacy and a perpetuation of racist rhetoric. Sign below to demand the Department of Homeland Security halt the plan to collect DNA from detained immigrants.


Dear Mr. Wolf,

Taking the DNA of hundreds of thousands of individuals under the guise of “fighting crime” is a violation of privacy and a continued attack on the rights of immigrants.

There should be a meaningful difference between civil law and criminal law. Even if every immigrant held in detention centers was charged with the misdemeanor offense of attempting to cross the border illegally, most misdemeanors aren’t serious enough to qualify for DNA collection. What is your justification, then, for subjecting immigrants to this treatment?

I demand that you stop perpetuating xenophobic rhetoric in our country and halt the program to collect DNA from detained immigrants.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk

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