Biden Administration Flouts Federal Law, Does Not Collect DNA From Detained Illegal Migrants

'This failure weakens our justice system and empowers criminals to illegally cross our border, jeopardizing American lives'

Border Patrol agents process migrants in California (Getty Images)
March 7, 2024

The Biden administration is not conducting federally mandated DNA tests on detained illegal aliens, according to new data obtained by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and shared with the Washington Free Beacon.

The data show that Customs and Border Protection only collected DNA samples from 30 to 40 percent of the approximately 3.2 million illegal aliens who entered the United States in fiscal year 2023. The Biden administration’s failure to comply with DNA gathering requirements set out in the 2005 DNA Fingerprint Act comes as the country grapples with a record surge of illegal migrants, many of whom commit high-profile crimes upon entering the country.

Laken Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student at the University of Georgia, was murdered last month by an illegal alien while she was jogging around campus. The suspect, Jose Antonio Ibarra, was first arrested for illegally crossing the southern border in September 2022 and paroled into the country by President Joe Biden. Ibarra was also arrested in New York City after allegedly abusing a child less than 17 years old.

In Virginia, an illegal alien from El Salvador was also arrested last month for murdering a two-year-old during a shootout. The suspect in that case had pending deportation orders that stemmed from prior arrests.

"Given the record number of illegal crossings, CBP encounters, and ICE detainees with prior criminal records, CBP and DHS’s continued failure to collect DNA on illegal immigrants is deeply concerning," Grassley said in a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and acting Customs and Border Protection chief Troy Miller. "This failure weakens our justice system and empowers criminals to illegally cross our border, jeopardizing American lives."

Border security sends DNA collected from illegal aliens to the FBI, which creates a file on each individual. Illegal migrants’ DNA is also uploaded into the National DNA Index System, which law enforcement around the country use to help solve crimes.

The FBI’s DNA database has helped law enforcement arrest numerous illegal aliens for fraud, murder, and the sexual assaults of minors, data show. Several of those arrests were from incidents considered "cold cases" by law enforcement.

The Biden administration has attempted to roll back some rules surrounding the collection of DNA from illegal aliens implemented under former president Donald Trump. In May 2021, the Department of Homeland Security ended the mandatory collection of DNA from every application request and ended certain exemptions from the practice.

Last year, the Department of Homeland Security also ended the mandatory DNA testing from families detained at the southern border. Practices such as those, proponents say, help law enforcement verify the relationships between illegal aliens in custody.

More than 8 million migrants have illegally entered the country since Biden took office, the most in U.S. history. Surveys show that immigration is now a leading concern among voters, a rarity in modern polling.

Although the issue has gained salience with the electorate, there is little evidence the Biden administration plans to change course any time soon. Raul Ortiz, the former head of the U.S. Border Patrol, said in an interview earlier this month that he "never had one conversation" with Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris during his tenure.

A spokesman for Customs and Border Protection declined to comment.