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PNS Daily Newscast - September 30, 2020 


Trump and Biden square off in a debate marked by interruptions; COVID-19 highlights neglect of undocumented residents.


2020Talks - September 30, 2020 


Last night was filled with interruptions at the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Civil-Rights Group Slams Invasive Biometric Vetting for Immigrants

Federal immigration authorities want to start collecting biometric data such as retina scans and DNA from immigrants and some of their family members. (NickSumm/Morguefile)
Federal immigration authorities want to start collecting biometric data such as retina scans and DNA from immigrants and some of their family members. (NickSumm/Morguefile)
September 3, 2020

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- In the near future, immigrants applying for a green card, visa or work authorization could have to submit to iris scans, voiceprints and even DNA collection under a plan expected to be released this week by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

This is in addition to the fingerprints already collected.

Andrea Flores, deputy director of immigration policy for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the plan is overbroad and unnecessary.

"How are they storing this data?" Flores asked. "Why do they need this data? They already collect biometric information like fingerprints; why are they collecting DNA? That seems incredibly invasive."

American citizens also may have to undergo the scans if they sponsor a family member to come here.

DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said the program is necessary to prevent immigration fraud and speed up identifications.

The Trump administration already has begun collecting DNA swabs from migrants at the border.

Flores said this is part of a larger effort to use extreme vetting to make life difficult for the millions of people who go through the immigration system each year.

"They're making it very costly and personally invasive for them to go through the immigration process," Flores said. "So they're really just trying to create new barriers for immigrants."

Civil-rights advocates are urging Congress to demand answers on how long the data will be kept and whether it will be shared with law-enforcement agencies aside from ICE and the Border Patrol.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - PA