Skip to main content

The Stakes Have Never Been Higher.

In the face of existential emergencies to humanity, Common Dreams is facing other potentially fatal threats to our funding model. Please support our nonprofit journalism and help us reach our $75,000 Mid-Year Campaign goal.

'Normal' is killing us.

Donald Trump is out of the White House. COVID-19 is fading, at least in wealthier nations. The world, they say, is returning to “normal.” That’s the narrative that the corporate media is selling. But there’s a problem: “normal” is destroying our planet, threatening our democracies, concentrating massive wealth in a tiny elite, and leaving billions of people without access to life-saving vaccines amid a deadly pandemic. Here at Common Dreams, we refuse to accept any of this as “normal.” Common Dreams just launched our Mid-Year Campaign to make sure we have the funding we need to keep the progressive, independent journalism of Common Dreams alive. Whatever you can afford—no amount is too large or too small—please donate today to support our nonprofit, people-powered journalism and help us meet our goal.

Please select a donation method:

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

As seen through fencing, migrants—including a young child—stand while being detained by Department of Homeland Security police after crossing to the U.S. side of the U.S.-Mexico border barrier, on June 27, 2019 in El Paso, Texas.

As seen through fencing, migrants—including a young child—stand while being detained by Department of Homeland Security police after crossing to the U.S. side of the U.S.-Mexico border barrier, on June 27, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

'Dystopian' Plan by Trump Administration to Harvest DNA From Undocumented Immigrants Draws Outrage From Rights Advocates

"Expansion from tracking individuals suspected of crimes to creating permanent files on whole classes of people is one of the hallmarks of a concentration camp regime."

Eoin Higgins, staff writer

Federal officials confirmed Wednesday that the government will move forward with a plan to harvest DNA from undocumented immigrants for storage in a database, an announcement that drew immediate condemnation from immigrant rights activists and other observers. 

According to reports, Department of Homeland Secrurity (DHS) is waiting for regulatory language from the Justice Department in order to move forward with the plan.

Immigrant rights group RAICES tweeted Wednesday that there is no time to waste for rights groups to challenge the proposal. 

"We need to shut this effort down immediately," the group said, "and given the government is hell-bent on introducing dangerous surveillance to border regions first, we know that our energies must be focused on the companies who will supply DHS with these technologies."

"Forced DNA collection raises serious privacy and civil liberties concerns and lacks justification, especially when DHS is already using less intrusive identification methods like fingerprinting," ACLU attorney Vera Eidelman said in a statement. 

Eidelman added that the potential for abuse of the information is real and dangerous. 

"This kind of mass collection alters the purpose of DNA collection from one of criminal investigation to population surveillance," she said, "which is contrary to our basic notions of freedom and autonomy."

Advocacy group Voto Latino said on Twitter that the proposal was "dystopian" and referred to the president's reported desire for a militarized border with moats filled with snakes and alligators and spiked fencing. 

"Such private info from vulnerable migrants does not belong to anyone, let alone the person who wants snake filled moats at the border," the group tweeted.

The ACLU's Eidelman echoed that warning about privacy and abuse. 

"Our DNA not only reveals deeply personal information about us, but also information about our relatives," said Eidelman. "This means the administration's racist immigration policies will also implicate the rights of family members in other countries and family members here, including American citizens."

Andrea Pitzer, a journalist whose book "One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps" has led her to point out the similarities between camps of the past and those on the southern U.S. border today, said it was ominous that the DNA collection appears to be designed to catalog ethnic groups, as opposed to serving a criminal or law enforcement purpose.

"Expansion from tracking individuals suspected of crimes to creating permanent files on whole classes of people is one of the hallmarks of a concentration camp regime," said Pitzer. 


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Support progressive journalism.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Experts Warn Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Could Slash Unemployment Benefits

"Cutting unemployment insurance for infrastructure" is how one analyst described a funding source proposed by a bipartisan group of senators and the White House.

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·


Progressives Alarmed by Privatization Dub Infrastructure Deal a 'Disaster in the Making'

"Communities across the country have been ripped off by public-private schemes that enrich corporations and Wall Street investors and leave the rest of us to pick up the tab."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


'We Must Not Stand Down': 270+ Arrested at Anti-Logging Protests in Canada

A battle over old-growth forests is raging in British Columbia.

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·


US Lawmakers Demand EU 'Do the Right Thing or Get Out of the Way' on Covid-19 Vaccine Patent Waivers

"A global recovery requires a global response based on health needs—not Big Pharma," said Congressman Jesús "Chuy" García at a rally.

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


'Horrible and Unconscionable Betrayal': Biden DOJ Backs Trump Line 3 Approval

"You are siding with a handful of corrupt corporate elites over honoring treaty rights, climate, water, and the future of life on Earth."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·