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Could the government demand biometric data from immigrants and their families?

| Sep 23, 2020 | Family Immigration

It has been getting a lot tougher for immigrants to find legal avenues to permanent residency or citizenship in the United States for a while. A new proposal by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may make things even harder — as well as prove to be a big intrusion on the privacy of those seeking to immigrate and their families.

Under new rules proposed through an announcement by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), anyone seeking a green card would be subject to having their photos, voice prints, iris scans and genetic material (DNA) collected and stored. So would anybody already holding a green card — and anybody who is or has sponsored an immigrant.

That means that if you sponsor (or sponsored) your spouse, parent, child or another person for immigration to the U.S., you would be required to submit to “biometric collection” efforts by the government, even if you were born in this country.

The government, naturally, says that these measures are necessary to properly vet the backgrounds of anybody immigrating to this country in order to keep out unwanted elements — but they’ve failed to justify why they need to have the biometric information of people who merely sponsor an immigrant.

Given that there are roughly 12 million people in this country holding green cards, the new rule could give the government an unprecedented cache of information that they could use to target immigrant communities and conduct surveillance.

Whether the new rules are ultimately put into place or not remains to be seen, but this is yet another indication that it’s becoming more challenging to lawfully immigrate to this country. If you’re hoping to immigrate or want to help a family member immigrate, seek experienced legal guidance.