Biometrics Collection From US Immigrants Expanded To Include DNA Testing, Per DHS Proposal

Posted on September 03, 2020
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New biometrics

In an extreme step towards a very ‘personal’ data collection arrangement, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing to extend the boundaries of biometrics. The anticipated changes in biometric collection will include invasive personal data, from a larger pool of immigrants which may be required more than once along the process of acquiring US citizenship, and even after that.

Biometric Fees For B2, Visitor Visa Extensions

The New Biometrics Rule – A Continuous Vetting Process

Under the proposed changes, DHS will collect biometrics for “any application or petition” unlike now where biometrics is required only for applications involving background checks. This would include non-immigrant visas, green card applicants, those seeking work permits including eligible dependents of foreign workers, DACA members and US citizen applicants.

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Even after receiving citizenship, US citizens can be asked to verify their biometrics if they are sponsoring a family member. This will mean seeking DNA of the applicant as well as the sponsoring US citizen to confirm genetic relationships in cases where that is an eligibility requirement.

Related Article: Fingerprinting For US Citizenship

This implies that the vetting process will not stop with having received US citizenship. Biometrics of different forms will be sought on a continuous basis, if the DHS feels the need for it.

Expanded Biometrics

Currently, submitting ones biometric is limited to fingerprints, photographs and signatures. With the new rule, DHS will have the authority to go beyond that and seek the immigrant petitioner’s DNA, voiceprints, iris scans, and detailed photographs for facial recognition.

This expansion is expected to widen further as varying technologies are being explored that can be utilized to gain further personal information from any and all immigrants seeking US citizenship. 

Related Article: Biometric Screening Replaces Boarding Passes In Some US Airports

No Age Barred

While the current biometric system limits collection from petitioners above the age of 14, the new proposal will have no age bar. Even minors will be subjected to the above personal data collection which includes DNA and eye-scans. 

As stated above, this requirement might be frequently sought at all stages of the immigration process until or after US citizenship has been acquired.

Why, The Need For An Extensive Biometric Collection

  • Reduce the dependence on paper work and use technology to collect information to prove “identity and familial relationships.”;
  • Introduce contactless vetting to improve processing times;
  • Improve surveillance by identifying fraudsters and grant access to US benefits to the eligible by preventing identity theft;

DHS is expected to roll out the details of the above proposal in the coming weeks. The public will be allowed to weigh the options and comment on it once it is published in the Federal Register. Some opposition in the form of privacy invasion lawsuits should be anticipated. 

Stay tuned to this space for the latest details pertaining to your US immigration application.

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