The Department of Homeland Security outlined its plans to increase the collection of personal biometric data on incoming immigrants Tuesday. The draft regulation, which the agency plans to publish for public comment and which would not take effect immediately, would expand the types of records the agency keeps on would-be immigrants to include face and iris scans, voice prints, and even DNA. The agency would reserve the right to require such identifiers from immigrants applying for a green card, work permit, or other benefit. DHS would also be able to request biometric information from immigrants until their naturalization as United States citizens as part of a “continuous vetting” process that would largely impact those applying through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli told BuzzFeed News, “This proposed rule eliminates any ambiguity surrounding the Department’s use of biometrics, setting clear standards for how and why we collect and use this information. Leveraging readily available technology to verify the identity of an individual we are screening is responsible governing. The collection of biometric information also guards against identity theft and thwarts fraudsters who are not who they claim to be.”