Why is CBP ignoring mandate to collect DNA from migrant detainees?

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According to a team of government whistleblowers who spoke with Fox News this week, the Trump administration’s ongoing DNA testing of illegal aliens isn’t nearly as comprehensive as it should be.

While it’s true the administration has been collecting basic DNA and fingerprint samples to test whether purported illegal alien families are actually families (often they’re not), the administration is supposed to also be conducting more extensive DNA tests to ensure that the illegals crossing into the U.S. aren’t listed in the FBI’s database of violent criminals.

But the whistleblowers claim this program isn’t being executed.

“There is no current pilot program. It’s basically dead in the water,” whistleblower Fred Wynn said.

Listen to him and his fellow whistleblowers below:

We have a great tool that was mandated by and approved by Congress as a law and we’re not using it,” fellow whistleblower Mark Jones added.  “We are allowing ourselves to apprehend individuals and process them and by not taking the DNA sample, we’re not giving our law enforcement — both state and federal — the additional tool to solve these outstanding crimes.”

According to the whistleblowers, an extensive DNA-test pilot program was supposed to have gone into effect as early as 2010 but was put on hold by then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano after she obtained a waiver from then-Attorney General Eric Holder.

Yet years later, and even with President Donald Trump, a Republican, now in the White House, the program still remains permanently stalled — and despite a vow from then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen back in 2018 that the program was in a “planning stage.”

In fact, Jones claims that during a 2018 Homeland Security conference call he participated in, the unnamed officials present appeared to suggest they wanted the program to fail.

“The folks in that conference call said, we’ll pick places we can make it fail,” he claimed.

Prior to this week, these were just allegations — ones that the whistleblowers reportedly shared with the Office of Special Counsel in May of 2018. In a stunning statement this week to Fox, however, the office confirmed that these allegations are most likely valid.

“OSC fully supports these whistleblowers,” a OSC spokesperson said. “While OSC does not typically comment on open investigations, we do want to point out that in this case, the Special Counsel determined there was a substantial likelihood of wrongdoing by CBP for its failure to collect DNA from undocumented detainees and arrestees.”

“[The spokesperson] said given the ‘serious law enforcement’ and public safety implications, Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner even met with former Acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders and current Deputy Commissioner Bob Perez ‘urging them to revisit the decision not to collect DNA from CBP detainees and arrestees,'” Fox reported.

But according to a statement by DHS, CBP appears to have no interest in ever implementing the program.

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“Upon review, it’s been determined that the exceptions noted in the 2010 waiver remain unchanged,” the department said in a statement to Fox last week. “There are currently no plans to change this waiver but DHS is moving forward on a DNA testing pilot to verify familial relationships.

It’s unclear whether the OSC’s statement in support of the whistleblowers will affect the department’s decision-making.

What’s known is that, despite reportedly being blocked, Nielsen had supported the pilot program and pushed for its implementation, according to the whistleblowers. What remains unknown is how current acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan feels about it.

“Internal emails reviewed by Fox News raised questions about what now-Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan knew. At the time of Nielsen’s testimony, in April 2018, McAleenan was head of CBP with direct responsibility,” Fox notes.

“The emails indicated that in February 2018, one of Nielsen’s senior staffers was alerted to the program’s troubled status. The whistleblowers said Nielsen backed the program and wanted progress.”

But with McAleenan now in control of everything, the program appears to  be “dead in the water.”

This revelation comes only weeks after McAleenan faced allegations that he’d purposefully leaked information about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s planned immigration raids to preemptively stop them.

“When this story was leaked, they gave the location of the cities, the day this was supposed to start, how many targets,” former acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said at the time. “This leak, which I know where the leak came from, I think we all know where the leak came from.”

“That story only benefits one person. Put these officers at greater risk of harm. I know the president said we’re going to do an operation, one million people in a week. He didn’t give the location. He didn’t give the number of targets.”

His insinuation was that there was only one person who had all that specific information available at his disposal — McAleenan.

Listen:

Many have since called for his removal from office.

“Hard-liners inside and outside the Trump administration are pressing for the removal of President Donald Trump’s acting Homeland Security secretary amid a rolling leadership purge that began in April and shows no signs of ending, according to five people in the Trump administration and four former Department of Homeland Security officials,” Politico reported in late June.

“Kevin McAleenan, who took over the post less than three months ago, is under heavy criticism from prominent Trump allies, including former Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan, who might become the administration’s immigration czar.”

Vivek Saxena

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