Bad hombres at the border. Photo by Bob Daemmrich/ Texas tribune. Front photo by Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty
Because the Racist Cretin-In-Chief and his slimy cohort Stephen 'Goebbels' Miller haven't committed enough crimes against desperate, vulnerable, brown-skinned people fleeing for their lives and seeking refuge in a country based on that very concept - just recently, they proposed cruel, pointless, virtually unworkable and undoubtedly illegal moves to charge fees to those seeking asylum, block them from getting work permits and require judges to rule on their claims within 180 days despite a current backlog of 850,000 cases - they've now devised a deliciously Nazi-cum-Big-Brother plan to curtail the "flood" of "fake" families sneaking into the country to steal our cherished mylar blankets: A pilot program that will DNA-test migrant families to ensure their kids really are their kids and not Skrulls, gang members or part of the "child recycling rings" that are "popping up everywhere" in Kirstjen Nielsen's fever dreams.
The Department of Homeland Security - and, seriously, lookit that name - says it will soon launch the DNA-testing trial at two locations along the border, using a quick test that involves a cheek swab and provides results in an hour and a half. Their goal is to “to help identify and prosecute individuals posing as families in an effort to target human smuggling" - oddly, the same bogus goal they cited last year when they conducted DNA tests on families they forcibly separated, detained and subsequently often lost. The pilot is based on the fear-mongering bugaboo of "fake" families of "illegals" carting their insidious kids here, a favorite if tired refrain from an administration incapable of understanding, never mind ameliorating, what are real border issues. Last year, in tribute to that myth, ICE warned of a 315% increase over six months in the number of adults with minors "fraudulently posing as ‘family units’ to gain entry,” a surge Nielsen eagerly called “staggering.” It was also wildly misleading.
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Experts say the actual numbers are far less dramatic: The 315% figure represents an alleged 191 fraud cases, up from 46, that make up just 0.61% of the 31,102 families apprehended at the border during that period. The percentage is even lower than previous, long-term numbers showing about 3,100 of 256,821 people crossing the border - almost 1% - made false claims about family status. Of those, even border officials say claims are often innocuous: Most fraud cases involve false or flawed documents, or adults trying to pass as minors, or complex, born-of-hardship family relations where the "parent" is in fact a brother, cousin or de-facto guardian because the biological parent is already here or has sent the child ahead for safekeeping or has been killed in the kind of violence their relatives are trying to escape. Of over 600 "fraud" cases last year, one official said, none involved smuggling or human trafficking; of 63 referred to prosecutors, 36 involved adults claiming to be children, and the other 27 stemmed from common, murky family relations.
Apart from the lies and distortions and scare tactics behind the latest indignity threatening asylum seekers, the ACLU and other rights advocates raise a host of objections to the macabre notion of DNA-testing those whose only crime is seeking safety. They cite consent issues for terrified strangers in a strange land, particularly indigenous or non-English-speaking families without interpreters. They cite privacy issues: ICE officials claim information gathered in DNA-testing "will not be stored or shared," and God knows what their word is worth. They, and we, cite the preposterous waste of resources on a useless, lunatic gimmick, 'cause it's not like there's anything else we could be spending money on like health care or housing or feeding hungry children or saving the planet or powering up Puerto Rico or giving Flint clean water or or or...Or providing proper health care to innocent people incarcerated at the border where another migrant child - a 16-year-old boy from Guatemala - just died in U.S. custody after falling ill, the third since December. How many more kids have to die? We don't give a fuck about his DNA. We're just tired of winning.