The 300-plus-page plan updates current biometrics requirements so that “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 without regard to age unless the agency waives or exempts the requirement.” The DHS estimates an additional 2.17 million new biometrics submissions will be collected annually, an increase from the current 3.9 million, under the rule. The DHS already collects fingerprints from some visa applicants. The new rule would expand that biometrics-gathering to iris images, palm- and voice- prints. The agency wants authority to require or request DNA testing to prove familial relationships where kinship is in question. The DNA data could be stored indefinitely, under the proposed rule.
The DHS essentially has until Dec. 20 to review and respond to public comments and draft a final proposal, said Doug Rand, who worked on technology and immigration policy in the Obama White House and then joined the Federation of American Scientists. “They’re really running out of time. And the fact that you’d put out a final regulation on such a far-ranging new policy that touches the lives of millions of people, you’re opening up to huge legal vulnerability because any plaintiff can point to the comment period of only 30 days.”