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DA: DNA Samples Should Be Collected From Immigrants During Citizenship Process

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(credit: David Joel/Getty Images)

(credit: David Joel/Getty Images)

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SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — The top prosecutor in San Bernardino County is calling for congressional leaders to include a provision in a comprehensive immigration reform package that would require immigrants applying for citizenship to provide a DNA sample as part of the matriculation process.

In a letter addressed to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, District Attorney Michael Ramos cited the DNA Act of 1994, which authorized the FBI to “establish, maintain, and manage” a computer system that stores DNA profiles created by law enforcement agencies nationwide.

Ramos said since its establishment in 1998, the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) has accumulated more than 10 million offender profiles from federal, state, and local agencies, with an estimated 200,000 DNA “hits” assisting in 190,000 investigations as of last month.

The letter — which was also addressed to California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer — cites current FBI policy requiring immigrants to provide fingerprints for a background check before becoming eligible to receive certain benefits.

“Requiring a DNA sample of applicants for immigration for the purpose of running it against CODIS to identify criminals is a common-sense hedge against criminals entering the U.S.,” Ramos said.

President Obama on Tuesday outlined a comprehensive immigration reform blueprint that would include a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants who already live in the United States.

Ramos reiterated the President’s call for lawmakers in Washington to take action.

“Immigration reform’s time has come,” Ramos said. “We have the technology and protocols to keep known criminals from becoming U.S. citizens.”

Click here to read the (PDF) letter from District Attorney Ramos.

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