DNA testing may resume for refugees

According to a news article published by Associated Press, the American government is discussing the use of DNA tests once again for some foreign refugees seeking residence in the U. S. This may lead to reinstating the pilot program that found massive fraud among those claiming family ties to join relatives already in the U. S. during the Bush administration.

Known as Priority 3, the suspended pilot program was conducted between late 2007 and early 2008, which used DNA testing to verify the blood relationships among family based refugee applicants. The program found that nearly 90% of the family claims were fraudulent. The program initiated DNA testing on applicants from a few African countries including Somalia, Ethiopia and Liberia, who claimed biological relationships with each other and applied to reunite with their family members who had already resettled as refugees and legal residents in the U. S.

The program didn’t test those already in the U. S. because the State Department said the overseas applicants made up 95% of the applicants to the program. The testing started when suspicions of fraud were first raised among refugees in Kenya. Fewer than 20% of the cases confirmed the claimed family relationship, and a large proportion of the applicants refused to take part in the requested test.

There is not a specific standing DNA testing program in place in the United States targeted at immigration and refugee applicants. However, the immigration officers will request a DNA test to be performed on applicants when they are suspicious of the relationship, and the submitted proof is not sufficient to prove the claimed relationship. Although no decision has been officially made, the State Department said in a statement given to the media that the new procedures would likely include DNA testing.

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