President Joe Biden's administration is set to end the practice of DNA matching families at the U.S.-Mexico border, the Daily Wire reported. This measure helped authorities keep children away from traffickers.
Under former President Donald Trump, the government contracted with BODE Technologies to do DNA matching on migrants crossing the border. It was a safeguard instituted by court order as drug cartels were crossing the border with unwitting children to create false families and gain access to the U.S.
It was also a useful tool for separated children and their families to be properly reunited. BODE Technologies won a $17.3 million contract from Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2020 to take on the task.
The company was offered up to five years and would operate in 11 crossing hotspots along the border. However, a leaked memo to U.S. Customs and Border Protection revealed that familial DNA matching will cease two years early on May 31, 2023.
At the time the program was introduced, Derek Benner, Homeland Security Investigations executive director, touted the benefits of the Rapid DNA model. "First, to protect children from being smuggled across the border by ensuring they are with their parents and not being used as pawns by individuals attempting to exploit immigration loopholes," Benner told Defense Daily.
"Second, to identify and stop the criminal organizations that are generating false documents and supporting child smuggling," he added. "It is clear on-site DNA testing has a strong deterrent effect, as HSI agents witnessed multiple instances of individuals confessing to faux families prior to being tested as well,” Benner added.
This appears to be a specific change to the border procedures as BODE will keep its 25-year contract with law enforcement, including the Combined DNA Index System used to collect DNA profiles of fugitives and suspects. It's unclear why Biden would cancel the border program given its success.
According to the Washington Examiner, nearly 30% of immigrant adults crossing the border were unrelated to the children with them. A 2022 government accountability study found that around 10% of the children tested were unrelated to the adults trying to cross with them.
"There’s been some concern about, ‘Are they stepfathers or adopted fathers?'" an official speaking on the condition of anonymity told the Examiner. "Those were not the case. In these cases, they are misrepresented as family members.”
It defies logic that Biden would choose to cancel this program given the opportunity for human trafficking presented at the border. This was another safeguard for vulnerable children that has now been removed.
At the same time, Biden has made it easier for unaccompanied minors to cross the border, the Heritage Foundation reported. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has publicly stated that the administration will not deport unaccompanied minors.
Another troubling change comes as the president supported the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. Instead of safeguarding children, it actually promotes the practice through Section 235 which provides goodies for unaccompanied minors and expedited immigration processing.
Dubbed "Enhancing Efforts to Combat the Trafficking of Children," it has proven to do the opposite. "Not surprisingly, after Congress passed that provision, the number of UACs from non-contiguous countries soared, as parents (and more importantly smugglers) realized that section 235 … all but guaranteed that any such child who could make it illegally into the United States would be released into this country," Andrew Arthur of the Center for Immigration Studies said.
It's unconscionable to allow minors to cross the border without the proper safeguards, whether they are unaccompanied or brought by adults. However, Biden seems intent on taking all comers at the border for his political ends, even if it means children are abandoned, abused, or worse.