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Immigrant advocates decry new rules on courts, DNA
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press

San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press, January 9, 2009
Posted: January 16th, 2009

Civil liberties and immigrant rights advocates expressed outrage over a Department of Justice rule that took effect Friday, mandating federal agencies to collect DNA samples from anyone who is arrested and foreigners detained by immigration authorities. The rule aims to help federal law enforcement agencies solve and deter crimes by expanding the country's DNA database, which is overseen by the FBI. The government also hopes that sampling immigrant detainees will help law enforcement hold them accountable for any crimes they committed in the United States. The rule ... sparked outcry from civil liberties advocates. "We should not be taking DNA, which contains highly personal information, from people merely upon suspicion they've done something wrong," said Larry Frankel, state legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, D.C. "This completely reverses the notion someone is innocent until proven guilty." Justice officials have estimated the DNA rule would put 1.2 million DNA samples into the federal DNA database each year. Thirteen states already collect DNA samples from some people who had been arrested, according to a 2008 survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nearly all limit the practice to arrests related to violent crimes or felonies. At the federal level, officials will take a cheek swab for DNA from arrestees along with fingerprints regardless of the nature of the offense, according to the Department of Justice.

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