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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Friday withdrew Trump-era plans to greatly expand the collection of biometric data, including DNA samples, which were aimed at verifying the family relationships of immigrants.
This change is "consistent" with President Joe Biden's February decree, focused on legal immigration, as well as the administration's efforts to lower barriers in the immigration system, according to a statement from the department.
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The Trump administration rule, which was proposed in September 2020, would have removed age restrictions for the collection of biometric data and would have given DHS the authority to require biometric data for every related immigration application, petition or requirement.
It would also have expanded the use of DNA collection.
At the time of the initial proposal, senior DHS official Ken Cuccinelli said that collecting biometric information "protects against identity theft and frustrates scammers who are not who they say they are."
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Vera Eidelman, an attorney for the ACLU's Voice, Privacy and Technology Project, praised the move announced Friday.
"The Biden administration is right to withdraw this DHS proposal, which would have massively expanded the government's collection of sensitive biometric identifiers, out of proportion to any legitimate need," Eidelman said.
Eidelman also called for the repeal of a Trump-era rule requiring "the forcible collection of DNA from people detained for immigration reasons."