In an extreme move towards a very “personal” data collection agreement, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing to push the boundaries of biometrics. Expected changes in biometric collection include invasive personal information from a larger pool of immigrants that may be required several times during and after acquisition of US citizenship.
Biometric fees for B2, visa extensions for visitors
The New Biometric Rule – A Continuous Review Process
As part of the proposed changes, the DHS will collect biometrics for “any application or petition”, unlike now, where biometrics is only required for applications with background checks. This would include nonimmigrant visas, green card applicants, those applying for work permits, including eligible dependents of foreign workers, DACA members, and applicants for US citizens.
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Even after obtaining citizenship, US citizens may be asked to verify their biometrics when sponsoring a family member. This means that the DNA of the applicant as well as the sponsoring US citizen will be searched to confirm genetic relationships in cases where this is a prerequisite for approval.
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This means that the verification process does not end with obtaining US citizenship. Biometrics of various forms will be continuously sought if the DHS deems it necessary.
Currently, the submission of biometric data is limited to fingerprints, photos and signatures. With the new rule, the DHS also has the authority to search the petitioner’s DNA, voice prints, iris scans and detailed photos for immigrants for facial recognition.
This expansion is expected to expand further as various technologies are researched that can be used to obtain additional personal information from all immigrants seeking US citizenship.
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No age blocked
While the current biometric system restricts the collection of petitioners over the age of 14, the new proposal will not have an age limit. Even minors are subject to the above-mentioned collection of personal data, which includes DNA and eye scans.
As noted above, this requirement can often be pursued at all stages of the immigration process up to and including acquisition of US citizenship.
Why, the need for an extensive biometric collection
- Reduce reliance on paperwork and use technology to gather intelligence to prove “identity and family relationships”.
- Introduce contactless verification to improve processing times.
- Enhance surveillance by identifying fraudsters and giving legitimate individuals access to US benefits by preventing identity theft;
The DHS is expected to publish the details of the above proposal in the coming weeks. The public can weigh up and comment on the options as soon as they are published in the federal register. Some contradiction in the form of data breaches should be expected.
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