Federal officials are performing DNA tests on migrant parents and children who have been separated at the border in an effort to reunite families, CNN reported Thursday.
Even though border officials have been instructed to stop separating families as a general policy, there hasn't been a clear plan in place to reunite the families that were separated by the Trump administration's zero-tolerance immigration policy. In order to determine which child belongs to which parent, and to avoid reuniting children with adults who may be unrelated traffickers, health officials are performing cheek swabs to verify family ties.
The officials, who may be Office of Refugee Resettlement workers, have reportedly been approaching both adults and children to order blood and saliva tests. CNN reports that it's unclear how long the testing has been going on, if the DNA information is stored, and whether officials are obtaining consent from each migrant.
Legal advocates say children certainly can't give informed consent to testing that could allow the government to keep tabs on them forever, and say the testing is evidence that the Trump administration mishandled the registration of migrants who are being kept in detention centers. A federal official says the testing is "being done to expedite parental verification and ensuring reunification with verified parents due to child welfare concerns." Read more at CNN. Summer Meza