Government Calls For Use Of DNA Tests To Reunite Migrant Families

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In order to speed up the reunion process of children separated from their parents at the U.S./Mexico border, government officials ordered the use of DNA tests. According to BBC, U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar and his organization will lead the task.

“We will comply [with the court] even if those deadlines prevent us from conducting a standard or even a truncated vetting process,” Azar said. Per CNN, officials will use a swab test to match up around 3,000 children with their parents by the deadline of July 10. Doctors assigned to take care of children in these controversial holding facilities also claim that little to no information on these kids have been stored, so one of the only options in reuniting them with their families is through DNA tests.

“Unfortunately, records haven’t been kept,” Dr. Alicia Hart said to CNN. “DNA’s probably going to be our only way of doing that and ensuring these kids get back to a safe home.” The method is worrying activists, however, some claiming that the DNA information will be used for another purpose; that being the government’s ability to track these children for eternity. “This is a further demonstration of administration’s incompetence and admission of guilt,” said Jennifer K. Falcon, a communications director for the nonprofit RAICES.

The Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” rule enacted a string of instances where children were being removed from their parents’ guardianship at the Mexico-US border by ICE personnel. The policy was disbanded on June 21. The detention centers where children are being held extend from Seattle, Wash., to Miami, Fla., The New York Times notes.

Parents then have to defend themselves in court, most asking for asylum. But recently, a 15-year-old Honduran immigrant had to represent himself in immigration court. According to ACLU, a group of judges ruled that the Constitution does not hold the government responsible for providing lawyers for migrant children.