DNA from thousands of suspected illegal immigrants, captives in the war on terror, and others who have been arrested but not convicted of federal crimes could be added to a national database of convicts’ DNA under a bill the Senate is likely to vote on soon, reports USA Today. The measure, critiziced by civil libertarians, has passed the U.S. House. It would be a dramatic expansion of the nation’s DNA database, which has about 2.6 million genetic profiles. Efforts have focused mostly on collecting DNA from those convicted of serious crimes, so profiles can be compared with DNA found in blood, semen and other biological evidence from crime scenes.
Virginia, Texas, and Louisiana allow authorities to take DNA from arrestees. Federal law blocks the inclusion of such profiles in the national database until a suspect has been indicted. If an indicted suspect is not convicted, his profile is removed. Supporters say the Senate bill would improve the ability of the national database – known as the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS – to help solve crimes. Since 1991, CODIS has matched DNA profiles in the database to those from crime scenes in more than 27,000 cases.