The U.S. government may add DNA from tens of thousands of immigration violators, captives in the war on terrorism, and others accused but not convicted of federal offenses to the FBI’s crime-fighting database, reports USA Today. Proponents of the plan, including Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Maricopa County, AZ., Sheriff Joe Arpaio, say taking DNA from federal detainees would solve many crimes committed by illegal immigrants and make it easier to identify and track potential terrorists.
Such mass seizures of DNA violate privacy and do little to improve law enforcement, says Caroline Frederickson of the American Civil Liberties Union. She says the law that defines federal detainees is so broad that it could apply to hikers stopped by park rangers or airline passengers selected for screening. Authorization for taking the DNA was included in a bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. The DNA samples would be compared against genetic profiles from 3.9 million criminals and 157,000 unsolved crimes held by the system of federal and state DNA databases that the FBI administers. The FBI says the system has aided more than 41,000 criminal investigations since 1990.