Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 83° Clear
News >  Nation/World

U.S. drops Trump plan for more biometric data on immigrants

UPDATED: Fri., May 7, 2021

FILE - In this March 30, 2021, file photo, a migrant and her daughter have their biometric data entered at the intake area of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security holding facility, the main detention center for unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley, in Donna, Texas. Migrant families will be held at hotels in the Phoenix area in response to a growing number of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, authorities said Friday, April 9, 2021 another step in the Biden administration's rush to set up temporary space for them.  (Dario Lopez-Mills)
FILE - In this March 30, 2021, file photo, a migrant and her daughter have their biometric data entered at the intake area of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security holding facility, the main detention center for unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley, in Donna, Texas. Migrant families will be held at hotels in the Phoenix area in response to a growing number of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, authorities said Friday, April 9, 2021 another step in the Biden administration's rush to set up temporary space for them. (Dario Lopez-Mills)
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Friday withdrew a Trump-era proposal to expand the amount and types of biometric data collected by U.S. immigration authorities.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said the proposed rule submitted for public comment in September would be withdrawn as part of the new administration’s goal of reducing “barriers and undue burdens” in the immigration system.

In a statement announcing the withdrawal of the proposal, the agency said the Department of Homeland Security would continue to collect biometrics “where appropriate.” That includes fingerprints and photos of people applying for citizenship and iris scans of people apprehended at the U.S. border.

The proposal issued under President Donald Trump would have, if adopted, enabled USCIS to collect more types of biometrics, including voice prints and DNA, from anyone applying to enter the U.S. and family members, including children.

The Trump administration argued it would improve security vetting, help reduce fraud and make the immigration system more efficient by, for example, allowing people to check the status of applications with just their voice. DNA, officials said at the time, would be used to ensure people were related family members as claimed and would not be stored.

But critics said the proposal would add unnecessary steps to an already cumbersome immigration process and discourage people from even seeking to come to the U.S. because of the intrusiveness of the data collection.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.