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The federal government last week launched a test program to collect DNA from people in immigration custody and send it to the FBI criminal database. The plan is to make the program go nationwide. This brought immediate objections because permanent residents with “green cards” and asylum seekers may be included. However, there is a reason for this program.

Immigration is an emotional issue because of the terrible circumstances of many people entering the country illegally. However, the Trump administration has adopted policies that are seeking to ensure that laws are enforced and border integrity is restored.

DNA collected in this manner often will not be needed immediately, but it is true that many criminals enter the country illegally, and often repeatedly. In these cases, having the DNA will be useful.

The pilot program is near Detroit on the Canadian border and at Eagle Pass, Texas.

The bottom line is that the program will not take DNA from legal entrants or those held for screening, unless they are placed into custody. That certainly is reasonable.

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