Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been talking to members of Congress about using DNA testing to verify whether children crossing the southern U.S. border are biologically related to adults they arrive with, or if they are being smuggled into the country by human traffickers, Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council.
“Sessions is talking to congressional members and is hoping for a legislative fix,” Perkins said, adding that the DOJ would like to see “just, fair and enforceable” immigration policies. To that end, “They are looking at how to use DNA tests in the field to verify they are parents and not traffickers,” according to Perkins.
“The reality is if American parents put their kids through what these immigrant parents have done to their kids, they would be charged with child abuse.” –Tony Perkins
Sessions told Perkins “We know for a fact that a lot of adults taking children along are not related to them. [They] could be smugglers. They could be human traffickers. It’s a very unhealthy dangerous thing and it needs to end. We need to return to a good lawful system,” Sessions told Perkins on his broadcast.
During a Monday evening White House news conference, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen countered claims that the Trump administration is separating all children from their parents following an apprehension at the border – noting that “The vast majority, vast vast majority of children who are in the care of HHS right now — 10,000 of the 12,000 — were sent here alone by their parents.”
“That’s when they were separated. So somehow we’ve conflated everything. But there’s two separate issues. 10,000 of those currently in custody were sent by their parents with strangers undertake a completely dangerous and deadly travel alone.”
On Tuesday, President Trump echoed Nielsen’s statistics over Twitter:
We must always arrest people coming into our Country illegally. Of the 12,000 children, 10,000 are being sent by their parents on a very dangerous trip, and only 2000 are with their parents, many of whom have tried to enter our Country illegally on numerous occasions.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2018
In other words – 80% of migrant children are separated from their parents when those parents choose to send them across the border alone or with human traffickers.
During a Tuesday address at the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Trump suggested that his administration’s “zero tolerance” policy is simply enforcing legislation created and enacted under previous administrations – and said “I don’t want children taken away from parents.”
"We might as well get [immigration legislation] right, or let's just keep it going… We want to solve this problem, we want to solve family separation. I don't want children taken away from parents," @POTUS says at business luncheon https://t.co/4NzISpVeUJ pic.twitter.com/GTP33fVpql
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 19, 2018
As for collecting DNA, we can only hope that this is not just another government ploy to build a giant DNA database which starts the “normalization” of mass DNA collection while digital privacy rights and data security are woefully lacking.