DA Proposes DNA Testing for New Citizens

Tomoya Shimura, Daily Press, January 31, 2013

San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos wrote a letter to congressional leaders, urging legislators to require DNA testing for immigrants seeking citizenship.

The District Attorney’s office released the letter to the media on Wednesday, suggesting DNA testing should be part of any immigration reform considered by Congress.

“Immigration reform’s time has come,” Ramos wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “We have the technology and protocols to keep known criminals from becoming U.S. citizens.”

Under Ramos’ plan, immigration officials would collect DNA samples from citizenship applicants and run them through the DNA database. The database created by federal, state and local crime laboratories includes more than 10 million offender profiles, according to the letter.

There are two purposes to his proposal: To prevent granting citizenship to immigrants with criminal history and to prove to the public that most immigrants are not criminals, Ramos said in a phone interview Wednesday.

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He said the issue is personal for him because he’s a second generation Hispanic who grew up in California. Ramos said many people have a misconception that immigrants are gang members and criminals.

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