Report: Obama-Era Decision on Illegals' DNA Samples Has Let Violent Criminals Walk Free


When it comes to U.S. immigration law, eight years of the Barack Obama presidency are still casting a long shadow.

A 2005 law that required Customs and Border Protect agents to collect DNA samples from those arrested for use in criminal investigations has been disregarded since 2010, Fox News reported.

And Americans can thank former Obama cabinet members for that.

According to the exclusive Fox report, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, an executive branch watchdog agency, informed President Donald Trump in a letter that CBP had not only been neglecting collecting the DNA samples, but that the practice had actually allowed illegal alien criminals to avoid getting caught.

The DNA collection — which is separate from the process used at the border to determine whether adults and children caught entering the country together are actually related — was intended to provide samples to compare with evidence in FBI databases from crime scenes.

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If an illegal alien in custody for immigration violations had DNA that matched evidence from crimes under investigation, authorities could make another arrest, and potentially close the books on at least some crimes.

But that hasn’t been happening, according to the OSC, which began investigating whistleblower complaints about the matter in 2018.

Noncompliance with the law “has allowed subjects subsequently accused of violent crimes, including homicide and sexual assault, to elude detection even when detained multiple times by CBP or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),” Special Counsel Henry Kerner wrote in a letter obtained by Fox.

Office of Special Counsel l… by Fox News on Scribd

In other words, illegal aliens linked to crimes separate from — more violent than — simply entering the country illegally could have been caught and punished for them if evidence had been collected as the law required.

“It is disturbing that this would occur even once, let alone routinely, for approximately a decade,” Kerner wrote. “Many cold cases might have been solved — and victims of violent crimes granted closure — by now if CBP had complied with its obligations under the law.”

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The big question, of course, is why the CBP hasn’t been complying.

Then answer, according to the Fox News report, stems from 2010, when then-President Barack Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano got a waiver from the DNA requirements from then-Attorney General Eric Holder.

The waiver, according to Fox, was based on “severe organizational, resource and financial challenges.”

It was supposed to be only one year, according to the Fox report. However, it remained in effect for the remainder of the Obama presidency and to the current day.

Clearly, the Obama administration wasn’t making a high priority of DNA tracking of criminals living illegally in the country.

Do you think the Trump White House will get the DNA collection going again?

In addition, during the investigation, Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner Robert Perez told the Office of Special Counsel that other federal agencies who handle the same prisoners, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, take DNA samplings too, rendering it unnecessary for the CBP to do the same.

(However, the Office of Special Counsel found that other agencies do not collect DNA samples from anywhere near all prisoners, meaning not only that the CBP’s argument is hollow, but that potential criminal suspects have been walking out of custody in the U.S. for almost 10 years.)

Possibly not surprisingly, a CBP response to the office of special counsel’s investigation in 2018 found that “there has been no violation of law, rule, or regulation, and no substantial and specific danger to public safety.”

That’s not how the office of special counsel saw it.

Kerner’s letter cited a Colorado homicide in 2009 where the suspect was not arrested until a DNA match turned up in 2017 – something that could have happened quicker if his DNA sample had been taken during previous interactions with the law, according to Kerner.

It also cited “two particularly brutal sexual assaults” that were committed in 1997 but not solved until 2019 when a DNA sample of an illegal alien in custody linked him to the crimes.

In 2016, a new program under the Department of Homeland Security was begun to collect DNA samples, but was quickly sidelined, according to Fox.

One of the whistleblowers, identified as Mark Jones, told Fox that CBP officials might be worried about facing liability claims from the families of those victimized by illegal alien criminals, Fox reported.

Another whistleblower, identified as Mike Taylor, noted the price the country paid for that bureaucratic inertia.

“U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and illegal aliens in this country are, and have been, harmed due to our agency not collecting DNA,” Taylor said.

Of course, all the blame for this can’t be placed on Obama.

The country is now well into the second half of President Donald Trump’s first term and a president who staked his campaign and a good deal of his presidency on solving the illegal alien invasion clearly has a responsibility to make this work.

But it’s clear from the Fox report, and from Kerner’s letter, that the crucial decisions involving the DNA program were made during the Obama administration, on a supposedly temporary basis that somehow became permanent.

The Trump White House has Kerner’s letter. The American people know about the Fox News report.

If an effective means to collect illegal aliens’ DNA for evidence exists, then the Trump administration needs the political will to implement it.

The shadow the Obama administration cast over the American immigration question has been long and dark, but all things must come to an end — even the lingering legacies of the Obama presidency.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.