DNA collection for suspected immigration violators raises lots of questions.
The Justice Department began the program earlier this month, the samples added to a national database that could be used to help make identifications as police attempt to solve crimes. On one side, there are people who see some benefit in it.
"We're seeing cases across the country where a lot of these perpetrators that are illegal aliens have a long line of victims before they're ever apprehended," said Americans for Legal Immigration president William Gheen. "I'm not trying to say that all illegal immigrants are sexual predators or violent criminals. But I am saying we have a large problem with repeat offenders who use fake names, and have a rape and pillage philosophy and crime penchant."
Still, critics will tell you the door is wide open for mistakes to be made.
"We wanted them (Justice Department) to set up a system in which the burden is on them to at least show some kind of proof that they're not citizens-and this regulation doesn't require that," said Paromita Shah with the National Immigration project.
And what if a mistake is made? What if the arrest turns out to be bad? Maybe the suspect turns out to be a U.S. citizen. Shah said that could have a negative impact on an innocent person for years to come.
"I think there's a long history that shows it's really hard to remove information from government databases-even when it's shown it's bad information they have," Shah said.
Then there's the question of privacy-and how far the government should go.
"To have that information under the full control of the government-with no way to take it out, to track it, to see that it is being used properly should be a concern to all of us," Shah said.
Gheen isn't as sympathetic.
"I think the privacy rights-the focus should be on legal American Citizens and legal immigrants-not on people that break in to our country," Gheen said.
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