Department of Homeland Security Wages Biometric War on Freedom In America: DHS Files Rule Proposing Increasing Scope of Biometric Information Collection

September 4, 2020 | By MILA JASPER |

DHS Files Rule Proposing Increasing Scope of Biometric Information Collection 

“The Homeland Security Department posted the full text of a proposal to the Federal Register that would give it the ability to collect more biometric information from immigrants.”


“The Department of Homeland Security posted a proposed rule to the Federal Register Friday that would widen the scope of its biometric information collection program. The department originally announced the forthcoming rule Tuesday, but did not file text of the rule until Friday afternoon.

The rule, which is more than 300 pages long, proposes six major changes that would increase the amount of biometric information U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement can collect. The proposal will officially be published in the Federal Register Sept. 11, and public comment on the rule will be open for 30 days after that.

The rule proposes sweeping enhancements to the department’s biometric information collection practices. It redefines the term “biometric” and makes five other recommendations expanding the instances during which DHS can require collection of biometric information as well as increasing the type of biometric information it can collect.

“The purpose of this rule is to provide notice that every individual requesting a benefit before or encountered by DHS is subject to the biometrics requirement unless DHS waives or exempts it,” the proposal reads.

The department proposes the definition of the word “biometrics” should mean “the measurable biological (anatomical and physiological) or behavioral characteristics used for identification of an individual.”

DHS wants to add the collection of  palm prints, photographs for facial recognition, voice prints, iris images and DNA for tests to determine genetic relationships to its pre-existing biometric practices, which include collecting fingerprints and signatures of immigrants.

While biometric technology was previously used for background checks only, the new rule suggests collection should be required for identity enrollment, verification, and management and the production of secure identity documents in addition.”

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DHS to Propose Expansion of Biometrics Collection | National Law Review

Thursday, September 10, 2020

“On September 11, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will release a new regulation for notice-and-comment that proposes to expand the collection of biometric data and give DHS increased flexibility to deal with emerging needs. Here are a few highlights from the draft 328-page rule.

  • Unless waived by DHS, any applicant, petitioner, sponsor, beneficiary, or individual filing or associated with an immigration benefit or request, including U.S. citizens, must appear for biometrics collection – regardless of age.
  • There will be new biometrics modalities including iris scans, palm prints and voice prints.
  • DHS may require DNA results to prove the existence of a claimed genetic relationship.
  • Foreign nationals who are granted immigration benefits will be subject to continued and subsequent vetting and biometric evaluation until granted U.S. citizenship.
  • New forms will be produced including the new biometrics requirements.

For employers, this may mean that authorized signatories or others associated with a petition filing could be subject to biometrics screenings – even if they are U.S. citizens. It also means that foreign national employees and their dependents will be subject to continuing surveillance and may need to attend numerous biometrics screenings, even absent a new petition or application. In addition, given the increase in biometrics processing and the new proposed modalities, including more DNA screenings, privacy issues will be of great concern for employers and employees alike.

DHS estimates that the draft rule would increase the number of annual biometrics screenings from 3.9 million to 6.07 million. Currently there is a 46% collection rate across all forms. Under the new rule, that would rise to 71%. This increase would be difficult to implement any time soon given the current backlogs at Application Support Centers.”  Link


Link To Full_Document_2020-19145




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