“Expansion from tracking individuals suspected of crimes to creating permanent files on whole classes of people is one of the hallmarks of a concentration camp regime.”
Federal officials confirmed Wednesday that the government will move forward with a plan to harvest DNA from undocumented immigrants for storage in a database, an announcement that drew immediate condemnation from immigrant rights activists and other observers.
According to reports, Department of Homeland Secrurity (DHS) is waiting for regulatory language from the Justice Department in order to move forward with the plan.
Immigrant rights group RAICES tweeted Wednesday that there is no time to waste for rights groups to challenge the proposal.
“We need to shut this effort down immediately,” the group said, “and given the government is hell-bent on introducing dangerous surveillance to border regions first, we know that our energies must be focused on the companies who will supply DHS with these technologies.”
Unauthorized medical testing violates international human rights law. Once again, IT IS LEGAL TO SEEK ASYLUM. Under this new policy everyone who crosses the border & gets detained, including children, will be entered into an FBI national criminal database. https://t.co/LUpYfeGq1P
— RAICES (@RAICESTEXAS) October 2, 2019
“Forced DNA collection raises serious privacy and civil liberties concerns and lacks justification, especially when DHS is already using less intrusive identification methods like fingerprinting,” ACLU attorney Vera Eidelman said in a statement.
Eidelman added that the potential for abuse of the information is real and dangerous.
“This kind of mass collection alters the purpose of DNA collection from one of criminal investigation to population surveillance,” she said, “which is contrary to our basic notions of freedom and autonomy.”
Advocacy group Voto Latino said on Twitter that the proposal was “dystopian” and referred to the president’s reported desire for a militarized border with moats filled with snakes and alligators and spiked fencing.
“Such private info from vulnerable migrants does not belong to anyone, let alone the person who wants snake filled moats at the border,” the group tweeted.
The ACLU’s Eidelman echoed that warning about privacy and abuse.
“Our DNA not only reveals deeply personal information about us, but also information about our relatives,” said Eidelman. “This means the administration’s racist immigration policies will also implicate the rights of family members in other countries and family members here, including American citizens.”
Andrea Pitzer, a journalist whose book “One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps” has led her to point out the similarities between camps of the past and those on the southern U.S. border today, said it was ominous that the DNA collection appears to be designed to catalog ethnic groups, as opposed to serving a criminal or law enforcement purpose.
“Expansion from tracking individuals suspected of crimes to creating permanent files on whole classes of people is one of the hallmarks of a concentration camp regime,” said Pitzer.
Ted Cruz mocked for tantrum about Gorsuch siding with Native American rights: ‘Way to channel Andrew Jackson’
In a surprise move on Thursday, Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch sided with Native American rights, ruling that Oklahoma must honor a treaty granting tribal sovereignty over much of the eastern portion of the state.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took to Twitter to vent his outrage over the decision.
Neil Gorsuch & the four liberal Justices just gave away half of Oklahoma, literally.
Manhattan is next. https://t.co/Ic9gqqznJp
Trump attacks: Only reason ‘they’ don’t want to let schools re-open is to hurt my re-election chances
President Donald Trump appears to be attacking Democrats, or the large number of parents across the country who are afraid to send their children back to school in the fall over concerns students could contract the coronavirus and get sick or die, or spread it to their families, friends, and teachers.
"Politics," according to the President, is the only reason "they" don't want to allow their children to go back to school.
In a rambling address at the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative, the President talked about "allowing those at lower risk such as young, and healthy – children in many cases the immune system is so powerful, so strong – but the young and the healthy to safely return to work and to school."
California theme parks remain shut but hundreds flock to Disney shops
Disney's California theme park reopening may have been thwarted by coronavirus, but hundreds lined up early Thursday to buy Mickey Mouse merchandise from an adjacent shopping plaza.
Downtown Disney District -- which borders the world-famous Disneyland and Disney California Adventure theme parks near Los Angeles -- is the first part of the sprawling resort to reopen.
It threw open its shops and restaurants to eager fans after almost four months of coronavirus-mandated limbo.
"I've personally been here since 11 pm," one woman told local news network KTLA.